Last Updated: 10/13/2013

(the longer between the updates, the better)

Gary Turner Tanya Tomlin Fred "Fritz " Hoffarth Donnie Bauman Leroy Bauer
Mike Zimensky Wayne Groth John "JD" Davis Steve Barbe Bob "Fatbob" Watkins
 "Li'l Ricky" Bonnie Flemming Tom Halterman Simmie "Big K" Kinsey Bill "Ratbike Bill" Wisely
Kelly Silvey
Mike "Toothpick" Schmittling



Over the years, I have come to find a special place in my heart for those whom I have the honor to call "friends"... As many of you reading this know, the motorcycling "community", so to speak is a tight conglomeration of people from all walks of life who have come together to share the enjoyment of the motorcycle and all of the nuances associated with it.

Having said that, it is only natural that those within this select community experience the same joys, triumphs, pain, and heartache that "normal" people feel. The difference, I believe, lies in the way we share these events in our lives. In memory of those who have gone before us, and in triumph of the human spirit, dedication, and commitment, I present the following members of our motorcycling family, departed from our physical world, but kept alive in our thoughts and prayers. Brothers and sisters, you are not forgotten.......

"A man's worth cannot be measured in the amount of money he's made, the big house he had or the shiny scooter he rode. A man's worth is based on the depth of loss other men feel at his passing."~Squirts


Mike "Toothpick" Schmittling-  photo
                                mikevfwrider_zps52a82ae1.jpgToothpick was a retired member of the US Airforce and an all around fine and honorable man. I was honored to call him "brother", comrade and friend. Toothpick fought hard against cancer and even though he was often in pain, he always had a smile and words of encouragement for others. I was honored to serve as VFW Post Chaplain at his visitation. We laid a sprig of evergreen, representing our never-ending friendship, a white rose representing our never-ending respect and a small US flag representing our admiration for his sacrifices made in defense of our country.

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Bill "Ratbike Bill" Wisely- photo billw_zpsd465078a.jpg The first time I met Bill, he was trying to kick over his raggedy ol' Shovelhead in about 95 degree weather outside a Handy Mart (gas stop).  The guy was already nursing a broken foot and had to resort to kneeling on the seat of the bike and then "jumping" on the kicker with his good foot. He kicked and kicked until that old Shovel finally gave in. Bill and I came to be close friends and spent many, many miles sharing the same asphalt, telling stories and generally sharing our lives. My wife, Beverly, and I also spent many weekends camping out with both Bill and Bonnie at different rallies throughout the midwest. Bill was a fun, kind-hearted man who while deeply religious never pressed his beliefs onto anybody else. Bill had ridden with the Christian Motorcyclist Association and was a founding member of the Narrow Road Riders in Belleville, IL. As with life, Bill and I eventually traveled our separate roads and I lost touch with him for a few years. We emailed and IM'd from time to time and it was a sudden shock to learn that Bill had colon cancer early in 2008. Bill, I could have been a better friend, but I am a better person for knowing you and learning that no matter what, to keep a spring in my step, a smile on my face and smooth road under my wheels. I'll miss you, man.

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 Simmie  "Big K" Kinsey- photo simmie_zpsa88038c6.jpg"Big K" was nothing more than a good ol' country boy wrapped up in a bear's body. Big K was REALLY Big K! =) A big man with a big heart, he was my neighbor growing up and the first 1%er I ever met in person. He rode a big fully-dressed Hog back in the day and I remember watching him chug down the street on that scooter... I didn't really get to know Big K until coming back from the Army... By then he was sickly and alone and asked if I would show him some work out stuff with weights. One thing led to another and I guess I became Big K's pseudo trainer over time. More than that, though, I became his friend. Similar to Tom Halterman, Big K was a hero who nobody knew of, back in a day where the word "hero" wasn't thrown around like it is today... Big K served three complete tours of duty in Vietnam and retired as a First Seargent with a a whole BOWL of fruit salad (awards) for bravery; and this was AFTER serving in the Korean War! I miss ya', "K", and thank you for "schooling" me on what it means to be an man of honor and biker.

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Tom Halterman-  Mr. Halterman was not a biker, but he had the SOUL of a biker, for sure. We buried Mr. Halterman today... He lived a long and colorful life, having fought the Japanese behind enemy lines in the jungles of Burma as an OSS (now CIA) officer during World War II. He raised several sons and daughters with his wife of 57 years, Ruth, and delighted in spending time with his grand kids and great kids. I had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Halterman through conversations and sharing "war stories" and came to appreciate this humble man and the accomplishments of his life. If a man's worth is based on his impact on our world, then Mr. Halterman's life had MUCH worth, in my opinion.

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John "JD" Davis- photo Jdtire_zps6d019758.jpgDiagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor just before Christmas 2003, JD struggled valiantly against the brain cancer which ultimately took his life in March 2004. JD was one of the fastest motorcycle riders I ever knew and I must admit that while I acted tough I "white knuckled" my bike more than once trying to keep up with him. I won't forget you, JD... You are missed by all.

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"Li'l Ricky"- Li'l Ricky, a.k.a. "Hippie" was an interesting fella. = ) The man was short in physical stature but BIG in heart and could out party and out ride most of the folks we hung with. The first time I met Ricky was in 20 degree weather in the middle of winter during a Polar Bear Run. Ricky had a raggedy old red Sportster and he played Hell keeping that thing going! I'll never forget this little dude, all bundled up from head to toe in leathers, running/ push starting his Sporty down the Main Street of Belleville. Ricky's life turned one afternoon when the dumptruck he was driving on the interstate had a blow out. The truck crossed the median, killing a guy in a van and leaving Ricky paralyzed from the waist down. Recovery was long and hard and, in my opinion, Ricky never fully recovered from the mental anguish he experienced. Ricky's drinking and partying kicked up which eventually led to his death when he ran his vehicle into a pole. They say a candle burning on both ends burns brightest, but also burns quickest...

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Gary  Turner- Tragically killed while on his scooter by a drunk driver. My first experience as a member of an organized motorcycling group (ABATE of Illinois), I sat in awe as those around me who knew Gary much better than I related his life and events to me. Leaving a town homecoming, lights off and drunk on a dark and winding road from Milstadt, Illinois, the "cager" never saw Gary turn on his blinker and slow to make a left hand turn. The cager hit Gary and his riding partner and traveled hundreds of yards before finally stopping. Gary was killed instantly and his passenger severely injured. The cager was charged with DUI. We held vigil outside of the county courthouse as the scumbag that ran him over went through court... Gary's life was "worth" three year's probation and a loss of license. "Justice", huh?

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Bonnie Flemming- photo Bonnie_zps946fb6ee.jpgBonnie was one of the most independent female bikers I have ever ridden with. A long time member of the International Brotherhood of Motorcycle Campers, Bonnie wouldn't think twice of fueling up her raggedy GL 1100 Wing, hooking up her travel camper and heading down the road toward new adventures. After years of keeping her old Goldwing running, Bonnie finally had the opportunity to retire and spent her money buying a used GL 1500 with a "voyager" portable trike kit attached. Someone suggested Bonnie get a feel for her new bike by removing the additional two wheels, which she did, and during her first outing on the now standard 'Wing something happened and she crashed. The bike landed on top of her and crushed her helmeted head. She spent the next year in a vegetative state with permanent and irreversible brain damage. Bonnie died yesterday from complications related to pneumonia and while saddened by the news, I could not have been happier for her. A woman as strong and independent as Bonnie would never stand for being enslaved by her own body and I am sure she is now free once again to explore those unexplored roads and head her bike toward new adventures.

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Tanya  Tomlin- A shooter's bullet took this young lady's life too soon. I always remember her with a great smile and care free attitude. Tanya, you were way too young, kiddo... New to the "biking scene", Tanya welcomed me one rainy evening at the bar she tended with a hearty "Watcha' have, honey?" =) I still remember your great smile...

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Fred "Fritz"  Hoffarth- Dry wit and a love for the ride sustained Fritz as he fought against the "Big C". A quiet, unassuming man during the day, Fritz would transform into the center of attention at night with his never-ending funny stories and GREAT wit. Fritz was a friend to MANY, and I will never forget the sight of (literally) two miles of bikes rumbling down the interstate for his funeral...

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Donnie  Bauman- Taken suddenly from his family. Donnie was a small guy with a BIG heart and smile. He was a good, hard working dad who did not deserve to die so young.  His death from heart disease has, in turn, saved many as the 100 MPH Club holds a Donnie Bauman benefit run each year for the American Heart Association.

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Leroy  Bauer- photo leroy_zps0fbeaef7.jpg A Vietnam veteran, Leroy died the way he lived: On his bike and in the wind. Always thinking of others, Leroy pushed his wife, Barb, off of his scooter as he realized he was going to crash into a utility pole... His thoughtfulness saved her life at the expense of his own... Leroy, I'll never forget you yelling "Don't do it!" at our wedding as the rest of the biker crowd cheered on. =) You are missed, my friend.

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Mike  Zimensky- Literally saved my wife and me one wintery night when our furnace backed up and shot carbon monoxide into our house. Mike was a friend, ABATE member, and worked for Illinois Power and came out to "sniff" the place. He was so apologetic as he had to shut down the furnace because it couldn't be fixed. What he didn't realize was that without his concern for our safety, we could have died from CM poisoning. Mike's bike was placed beside his casket during his funeral. He was proud of that bike and my wife and I are proud, and thankful, of him.

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Wayne Groth- Tragically killed by a 16 year old, a big car, and an illegal U-turn... "I didn't see him" was the driver's excuse after pulling in front of Wayne as he was scooterin' to the local ATM in town. Like Gary's death, nothing ever happened to the driver of the car. Wayne

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Steve  Barbe- Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Steve fought a valiant, albeit too brief, fight against his illness. The brothers and sisters of the 100 MPH Club threw one helluva' BBQ Benefit for Steve just days before he passed.

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Kelly Silvey- photo kelly2_zps4ec6d6ba.jpgKelly was a young man who was taken from us much too soon thanks to that rat bastard, leukemia. Kelly fought a hard, difficult battle, but never once complained about his condition or the poison the docs forced through his body to kill the cancer. Kelly was a devoted ABATE of Illinois member and he and I got to know one another thanks to ABATE and riding to Patriot Guard missions throughout the state. Kelly's passing was deeply felt by those who called themselves his friends, and spurred several members to form a "Team In Training" group to raise money for the Lymphoma/ Leukemia Society of the U.S. Kelly, aka "Trainman". I am a better person for having known you.

Bob "Fatbob" Watkins- Tattooed from head to toe, Bob looked mean as hell, but with a teddy bear's heart. One of the first real "bikers" I met when I started riding... Bob, I'll never forget you sittin' on the ground in the middle of the desert and tightening that damn chain on your raggedy ol' Suzuki! My first time to Sturgis... What a ride! Take care, brother. You make me smile even now.

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