Stan's Harley Davidson co-founder charging into her 90s
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Stan's Harley Davidson co-founder charging into her 90s

Aug 24, 2015

Going to work is Thera Horzempa’s goal every day, and it just might possibly be what has kept her young.

On Aug. 25, Horzempa plans to celebrate her 90th birthday by doing what she does most every other day — going to work at Stan’s Harley Davidson, the business she and her late husband Stan opened 60 years ago.

Born in Rushford the oldest of 10, the former Thera Sanders moved with her family first to Barre to find work on the muck, and then to Oakfield and Wheatville before settling on the East Shelby Road.

“Times were tough then, and when I was old enough, I worked on the muck, pulling 100 bushels of onions to make $7,” she said.

She also worked at Curtis-Wright during the war.

She met her husband Stan at hotrod races. She was working at Sylvania and he was a deputy sheriff and delivered groceries for Grangers.

They were married and built a home on State Street, where in 1958 he opened a shop repairing used motorcyles part-time.

“I was so mad when he wanted to start selling motorcycles,”  Horzempa said.

She obviously adjusted to it very well, as she became an active partner in the business, which grew so much they built a new modern facility on Saile Drive in 2000.

After Stan died 32 years ago, she continued to run the business with her son Darryl and daughter Debra. Two grandchildren also work in the business.

A year ago, she had a heart attack and had three stents put in.

“I’m a survivor,” she said. “I’m pretty good now.”

She said having something to do keeps her mind active, and that’s why she shows up for work almost every day.

“I’m just a silent partner now — a ‘go-fer,’” she said.

She has sold the house on State Street and lives in an apartment which Darryl built for her at his house.

“She’s always been a hard worker, and always motivated,” Darryl said.

On Aug. 29, her family will throw her a party at Stan’s Harley Davidson, and the public is invited to stop and wish her happy birthday.

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