Iowa motorcycle legend John Parham dies at 62

He brought National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa

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ANAMOSA — John Parham, the founder of J&P Cycles motorcycle company and a dedicated motorcycle enthusiast responsible for bringing the National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa, died Thursday after a prolonged battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He was 62.

“The motorcycling community has lost one of its most passionate, considerate, entrepreneurial and successful people and he will be greatly missed,” a statement from the museum said Friday.

The museum is creating a special Exhibition Development Fund in his honor.

Parham opened his first shop in 1975 in Anamosa before starting J. Parham Enterprises with his wife Jill. That company became known as J & P Cycles and grew into one of the largest motorcycle accessory mail order companies worldwide. Motorsport Aftermarket Group acquired J&P Cycles more than a decade ago and relocated its core operations out of state in 2015, with a retail center remaining open in Anamosa. Parham’s son Zachary remains the vice president and general manager.

Parham was inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame in 2015. In a statement, AMA President and CEO Rob Dignman offered his condolences to his family and friends.

“Beyond his success as a businessman, John dedicated his energy and resources to preserving the history of motorcycling. It was an honor to know him. He will be greatly missed by the motorcycling community,” he said.

In 2010, a lung transplant helped extend Parham’s life. He was an advocate for organ donation, blogging about his experience, recording a YouTube video to promote organ donation, printing brochures to distribute at motorcycle events and speaking publicly about the topic.

“I really have an opportunity to reach a lot of people,” he told The Gazette in 2011. “I’ve been very blessed. I’m just trying to give something back.”

He is survived by his wife and son, as well as Zachary’s wife Bree and two grandchildren, Kaiden and Kinlee.

Details on a May memorial service will be released on the National Motorcycle Museum Facebook page.

l Comments: (319) 398-8434; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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