Dale Walksler, founder and curator of Wheels Through Time Museum passed away peacefully at home on February 3, 2021 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, Walksler established a Harley/Davidson Franchise in Mt. Vernon, Ill: 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 known 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 Walksler opened the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. 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. Since that time Wheels Through Time has become 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 was a man of vision, zeal, intensity, imagination, and generosity. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the staff at Wheels Through Time, and as well as by the countless tens of thousands who have visited the museum.
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 Walksler’s life will be announced at a later date. At this time, the museum asks for privacy for the family as they mourn his passing. At Walksler’s request, in lieu of flowers, please send any donations and condolences to Wheels Through Time, PO Box 790, Maggie Valley, NC 28751.
All donations will be dedicated to ensuring the continuance of Walksler’s legacy far into the future and to giving museum visitors historical insight into the vital role that transportation has played in American history. The thrill of hearing the motorcycles run coupled with thoughts of riding into the wind will continue to evoke thoughts of Walksler’s vibrant spirit — and his dream.