“It’s a great day in Wisconsin” as we celebrate the life of Terry Doughty, who enjoyed his final motorcycle ride on October 18, 2020. He had just turned 68.
Terry, also lovingly referred to as Mr. Doughty or Mr. D., was a father and grandpa, boss and business owner, and supporter of his community. Terry’s selfless, caring, and joy-filled soul offered us light, hope and reassurance, and direction.
Family was the core of his being. Terry’s philosophy of child rearing was a bit unconventional, as you might imagine. Rather than teaching us life’s lessons through thorny discussions, our dad favored an experiential approach. Learning by doing. We learned about the value of hard work by spending our summers and weekends detailing motorcycles, unpacking deliveries, and reorganizing parts. Although he wasn’t “a hugger,” our dad displayed his endlessly deep and authentic love for us by showing up at nearly every event, performance, or celebration.
We didn’t need a clock in the Doughty household, for we could rely on the rumble of his Harley. A joyful departure at 7:00am on a crisp Wisconsin morning meant time to get up for school. A gentle return around 6:00pm announced dinner time, which Sandy had prepared. At 10:00pm, he would glide down the driveway, careful not to disturb our quiet home. The cautious purr on the road reminded us to rest, while Terry returned to work or enjoyed one of his infamous and introspective late-night rides.
We admired the second family that our dad built at his dealership, a place where work never seemed like work for someone with such an incredible passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In the same way that Terry was a father figure to us, he showcased his gritty work ethic and warm soul to his co-workers and customers at “the shop.” He touched the lives of countless individuals as he navigated from technician to service manager to co-owner to full owner and president, a classic portrait of the American Dream.
Many would characterize “Mr. D.” as a mentor, role model, or friend rather than a boss. Even when he was drowning in work, Terry created time and space to listen. Terry was genuinely interested to learn more about your life, your family, your work, and your passions. And he had an incredible talent for remembering the most nuanced details. If Terry sensed that you could benefit from help or support, he displayed his compassion with achingly selfless gestures. Although he never asked for anything in return, he would graciously accept a piece of banana cream pie--or the whole thing.
Terry shared his open ears and open heart with his customers and the wider motorcycling community. Many of you hold fond memories close--large and small--of the ways that Terry touched your life. Perhaps Terry helped you discover your passion for the “Ride Free” culture or inspired you to buy your first Harley. Maybe you rode alongside Terry on a dealership or memorial ride, an impromptu day trip cutting across scenic rural roads, or on his last adventure to Florida. Whether you met Terry once or saw him once a day, you’ll certainly remember that he was one of a kind.
Our lives will never be the same without Terry. To comfort us as we grieve, let’s remember what Terry taught us. Above all things, he showed us what we could be, how we could give, and what a well-lived life was.
Terry was a friend to everyone, and he would do anything for anyone. Always remember how much Terry’s infectious kindness nourished and guided us. Look at his smile. Listen to his easy laughter. Smell the cool autumn air on his leather jacket. Feel his love with just his presence.
Terry would want us to cultivate kindness, be selfless, and help others. He would want us to believe that, at their core, people are good. He would want us to make it a great day in Wisconsin or in the community that we call home.
Terry would also want us to do what we love, which is precisely how he ended his journey through life.
And finally, Terry would want us to know that “it’s a great day in Heaven.”
Terry was predeceased by his parents, Francis and Frieda Doughty; brothers and sisters-in-law, Don and Pat, Richard and Carol; brother-in-law, Bob Thurow; and niece and nephew, Amber and Jason.
If Terry loved one thing more than an open-road adventure, it was his family. His children and their families will lovingly remember their father who had a heart of gold: Joshua and Trina, along with Lexi, Emma, and Izzy; Jeremy and Matt; and Jennalee, and her son, Corbin.
Left with decades of special memories and a few untold tales are his siblings: Barbara Thurow, Diana and Norm Bastian, Kim and Al Schuh, David Doughty, Keith Doughty, Todd and Judy Doughty; special friend, Nancy Livingston; mother of their children, Sandra Doughty; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, October 29, 2020, from 9am to 3pm at Terry’s shop, 5322 W. Clairemont Dr., Appleton, WI.
To share a fond memory of Terry and to honor his life, please visit the memorial at Appleton Harley-Davidson.