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Daughter of ‘The Harley’ roars into Scottish Home

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 8:45 a.m. CDT
(Submitted photo)
Jean Davison, granddaughter of a Harley-Davison founder, pictured here in the sidecar of a motorcycle.

NORTH RIVERSIDE – The Illinois St. Andrew Society (ISAS) will get bikers’ motors running when Jean Davidson, granddaughter of one of the founders of Harley Davidson, presents “Growing Up Harley Davidson,” at 10 a.m. May 4 at the Scottish Home, 2800 Des Plaines Ave., North Riverside.

Doors open at 9 a.m. Coffee, scones and doughnuts will be served – in addition to Harley history.

The Davidson family came to Milwaukee from Scotland and started a small company which built “motorized bicycles.” Jean Davidson will tell the story of her family, the company and the motorcycle that captured the American consciousness.

Davidson is the granddaughter of Walter Davidson, one of four founders and the first president of Harley-Davidson. Her father, Gordon Davidson, was vice president of manufacturing.

When most children her age were playing with dolls, Jean started riding a Harley at age 12. She would go on to at one time being the owner of the largest Harley Davidson dealership in Wisconsin.

As a member of the royal family of motorcycles, she’s personally rubbed shoulders with some of the famous names in Harley riding and racing, such as Evil Knievel and Hell’s Angels.

Davidson also is the director of the Davidson Yell and Tell Foundation Inc., a charitable foundation set up to teach young children what to do when they observe a dangerous situation, such as the dangers associated with pools, rivers and lakes, fire, poison, guns, child enticement and bullying.

There is a personal connection between Davidson and the foundation.

Ryder, the 4-year-old grandson of Jean, was playing with some neighbor boys, 4 and 8 years old, near a ditch filled with water when two 4-year-olds fell in.

Among other charitable activities, the ISAS hosts free educational speakers at it’s museum and meeting room in North Riverside.

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