Mention “Billy Rides” around Springfield and Upper Darby in Delaware County, and folks know who you’re talking about.
You mean Billy Ostland, of course. Never far from his motorcycles or hot rods, and always ready for a cruise on the open road, Mr. Ostland was the classic motorcycle aficionado. Big as a bodybuilder and impressive in his black leather and boots on his Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic with Ultra upgrades. Mr. Ostland cut quite the swath around town.
But it’s his “huge heart” that niece Kelly Malone will remember most. That and his “smart ass” sense of humor.
“He always had the pun,” Malone said. “He was the cool uncle who taught us how to have fun."
In a tribute, she wrote, “He was a dedicated son and friend. His sense of humor, dedication to others, and friendship will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Ostland, 64, died on Thursday, May 7, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center due to complications from the coronavirus.
Born in Bryn Mawr, Mr. Ostland grew up in Springfield and, having an affinity for motors, ran an auto body shop in Upper Darby for years. An enthusiastic animal lover, his niece said, he would come across squirrels and ducks and other animals in distress, and nurse them back to health.
He attended motorcycle rallies and was popular in the cycling community, thus Billy Rides was born. He tended to tropical plants and had a cactus collection. He was known for giving his friends amusing nicknames, and some of them are still in use.
Friends leaving memories on Facebook repeatedly noted Mr. Ostland’s humor.
“Great guy and a funny character,” one person wrote. “Funny, funny guy," wrote another. Two people called him “unique.”
In addition to his niece, Mr. Ostland is survived by Dawn Speck, his partner of 17 years; sister Sue Shank; and a nephew. He had been married when he was younger, his niece said.
Services are to be later.