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Wheels Through Time founder dies of cancer

Dale Walksler. Donated photo Dale Walksler. Donated photo

Dale Walksler, the founder and curator of the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, passed away peacefully, with his wife by his side, at home on Feb. 3, after a courageous four-year battle with cancer.

In 1967, at the age of 15, Walksler built his first motorcycle, sparking a life-long love affair with American Motorcycles and their history. At 22, he established a Harley/Davidson franchise in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, — Dale’s Harley-Davidson. His signal success as a dealer grew to include the decades-long work that would define his life — the creation of the museum everyone now knows as Wheels Through Time.

As the museum collection grew, so too did Walksler’s vision for the museum, his reputation, his mechanical and curatorial skills, and a goal of always exceeding expectations of customers and guests.

In 2002, he opened the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley. From humble beginnings in a small Illinois town, one of the world’s premier collections of rare and vintage American motorcycles, automobiles and memorabilia emerged. Wheels Through Time became an Iconic American Institution and known internationally. 

Those who have visited Wheels Through Time know that Walksler’s passion was not just something to be observed but rather experienced. Whether it was listening to his vast knowledge and stories of transportation history or watching him start a motorcycle, his was a passion that was infectious. It inspired in many, that same desire to preserve and celebrate American motorcycle history. His genius rested on the latter portion of the Wheels Through Time logo, “The Museum That Runs.” 

Walksler’s vision was not just one of preserving the past but was also focused on the future. In that regard, he made great strides to ensure that the museum and his legacy would carry on for generations to come.

A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. At this time, the family asks for privacy as they mourn his passing. At Walksler’s request, in lieu of flowers, please send any donations and condolences to Wheels Through Time, P.O. Box 790, Maggie Valley, NC 28751. 

All donations will be dedicated to ensuring the continuance of the legacy that Walksler created far into the future and to giving museum visitors historical insight into the vital role that transportation has played in American history. 

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