We were among the many individuals and organizations who lost a good friend when Bob Illingworth passed peacefully at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the morning of March 24, 2009. Bob, 68, had lived courageously with cancer for almost 4 years.
While he was well-known in the tight-knit motorcycle community as an influential lobbyist for motorcycling laws, we knew him as a champion for children with special needs, who used his boundless energy and powers of persuasion to help raise over $600,000 within the motorcycle community for Children’s Care of Rapid City. Bob became acquainted with Children’s Care through his involvement with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
A longtime member of the Hamsters, USA motorcycle organization, Bob was honored with a Hamsters USA Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual banquet last August. In addition, Children’s Care awarded him with the Annual Chrome Heart Award, which recognizes an individual in the motorcycle world “whose philanthropic support and civic duty represents everything positive in the motorcycle industry.”
Bob was rarely without words, but he was whenever he toured Children’s Care. He was overwhelmed by the challenges of the children, and the love and expertise of our staff in caring for them. He told staff and board members that the world needed to know what kind of miracles were being performed here. He pledged to do all he could to help, and he did, until the day he could no longer speak to advocate for our children. His passion was and is, inspiring.
Bob had asked that memorials in his honor be directed to Children’s Care. Memorials may also be made online by clicking on www.cchs.org/tribute. Bob’s family will determine a special memorial project for the funds. May he rest in peace.