Nancy Davidson, Wife of Willie G., Loses Her Battle with Cancer

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall-of-Famer and Goodwill Ambassador passes at 89

 July 19, 2021

By Kali Kotoski

Few families in the motorcycle community elicit such admiration as those who carry the Davidson name. Besides carrying the duties and responsibilities that come from the Motor Company’s namesake, they serve as the enduring spirit of American manufacturing, its motorcycling traditions, and are elevated into our cultural ethos — for good reason.

And none represented that so aptly as Nancy Davidson — wife of icon Bill “Willie G.” Davidson — who passed away last week after a long-term battle with cancer at the age of 89.

Nancy Davidson signing autographs and meeting fans after an interview with her and Willie G.

Nancy was a passionate and devoted ambassador for motorcycling and for the Harley-Davidson brand, said current chairman, CEO and President Jochen Zeitz in a letter seen by American Motorcyclist and issued to employees and dealers.

Nancy and Willie G. married in 1957,  and she first started working as a school teacher after graduating high school. When Willie officially joined Harley-Davidson in 1963, she put all her energy into raising her family while instilling a deep appreciation for the family’s tradition and its historical accomplishments.

When the Harley Owners Group was launched in 1983, Nancy worked to connect with Harley-Davidson customers through thousands of miles of riding experience.

Together, Nancy and Willie traveled to and attended hundreds of motorcycle events, both domestically and internationally. Daytona Bike Week and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally were some of the most frequented. The couple could be seen at bike shows, speaking engagements and at charity events, always with wide smiles and adorned in biker chic.

Nancy Davidson (far right) next to Willie G.

In 2010, Nancy was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, in recognition of her long-term positive impact on the motorcycling community.

Nancy is survived by her husband, their three children, and one granddaughter.

Here is a letter to staff and dealers from Harley-Davidson CEO, President and Chairman Jochen Zietz:

It is with great sadness that today we announce the passing of Nancy Davidson following a long-term battle with cancer.

At this difficult time, it is important that we allow the Davidson family to have their privacy, however, I wanted to share with you a small celebration of Nancy’s life and her immeasurable contribution to Harley-Davidson.

Widely regarded as the “first lady of motorcycling,” Nancy Davidson was known throughout the motorcycling community as a passionate and devoted ambassador for the sport and the Harley-Davidson brand.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Nancy Schewe’s world changed when her high-school sweetheart Bill (later to become known as “Willie G.”) Davidson, came into her life. It was through this union that Nancy was introduced to the motorcycling lifestyle and before too long, she and Bill were to be seen together at motorcycle racing events throughout the Midwest.

After high school, Nancy enrolled in a Milwaukee-area teaching college, while Willie was enrolled at art school. Upon graduating, Nancy became a first-grade teacher. The couple married in 1957.

When Willie joined Harley-Davidson Motor Company in 1963, Nancy focused her time and attention on raising her family. Together, Nancy and Willie fostered in their children a deep sense of pride in their family heritage as well as their mutual passion for motorcycling. When Harley-Davidson launched the Harley Owners Group in 1983, Nancy and Willie saw the opportunity for their family to connect with Harley-Davidson customers through shared riding experiences. Together, Willie and Nancy logged thousands of miles over the years, getting to know some of Harley-Davidson’s most loyal and committed riders.

Wherever Willie went, Nancy was right there with him, traveling together to hundreds of motorcycle events, including Daytona Bike Week, Sturgis and many international events. In 2010, Nancy was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, in recognition of her long-term positive impact on the motorcycling community.

Nancy is survived by her husband Bill (Willie G.) Davidson, their three children, Karen, Michael and Bill, and her granddaughter Cara. Nancy was 89 years old.

When the necessary arrangements have been made, we will share information on how you can send your condolences to the Davidson family.

Godspeed Nancy! You will be missed by millions of riders who are part of the Harley-Davidson family and beyond for your contribution to the sport!