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article imageLocal hero Bob Fletcher dies, aged 90 years old

By Melissa Horrocks     Jun 14, 2012 in Business
Tampa - Generations ago, the only type of people who rode Harley Davidsons were police officers and outlaws. In the 1980's, the manufacturer began reaching out to a broader audience and clothes took up more space in dealerships than motorbikes.
By the 1990s, it wasn't just criminals or police officers who rode Harley Davidsons, but CEOs and celebrities. According to Tampa Bay Times, people like, Liz Taylor or Bill Clinton owned a Harley, or at least posed on one.
Mr. Fletcher moved to Florida in 1954, a year after damaging his ankle in a race. He opened Fletcher's Harley-Davidson in Clearwater ten years later. Fletcher who was an adventurer by heart, often advised his friends and family to enjoy what they had, whilst they had it. He died on Saturday, due to heart trouble. Fletcher was 90 years of age.
Fletcher was born in Belvidere, Ill. At the age of 19 he parted with $50 in exchange for a 1929 Harley JD. Although he was ready for something bigger, he spent the money he had been saving for a year and a half, on his wedding.
The Army gave him a Harley and asked him to train others. The Army shipped him to Germany, where he drove a tank for Gen. George S. Patton.
Back in Illinois, he and a partner opened Bob's Harley-Davidson, an hour's drive from Harley's Milwaukee factory. Fletcher took part in amateur motorbike races, until a 200 mile event in Daytona Beach ended his career when a rider crashed into his rear.
The store moved to Seminole Boulevard, then to U.S. 19 in 1980.
Fletcher retired in 1986 when his daughters: Laura Fletcher-Taylor, Peggy McFarland and Sherry Conder took over the store. Mr. Fletcher rode his motorcycle with the Florida Retreads and the Largo Roadrunners, scuba dived in Mexico and Aruba and flew his Cessna at every opportunity.
Mr. Fletcher rode to Milwaukee to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company in 2007, at the grand old age of 85.
Mr Fletcher's physician recommended that he lose his license two years ago because he was concerned that he may lose consciousness whilst riding. However, this was too much for Mr.Fletcher to bare and every so often he would still take his bike on laps around the dealership.
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