Albert Clyde “Hap” Poneleit passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening, August 11, 2010 at approximately 6:30PM with his family by his side. But Hap still rides on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to have known him.
Be sure to watch this wonderful tribute video of Hap compiled by his friends and the four generations of family that loved his so much.
Obituary of Albert C. “Hap” Poneleit
Oct. 22, 1922 – Aug. 11, 2010
Albert C. “Hap” Poneleit, 87, of Sarasota, passed away peacefully Aug. 11, 2010.
Hap was born Oct. 22, 1922, in St. Petersburg. Hap was known around town for his love of the motorcycle. He rode motorcycles when he was a teenager until he entered the Army during World War II.
Before going to Germany he married his love, “Bunny” Harriet Katheryn. During his time in Germany he was a scout for the 94th Infantry Division recon, where he was captured by the Germans. He was released in a prisoner exchange, and the very next day met up with his infantry unit again to fight in the Battle of the Bulge.
When the war was over Hap returned home to his family in St. Petersburg. It was then that Hap went to work for Lewis Puckett in St. Petersburg at Puckett’s Harley-Davidson. The Puckett brothers saw a need for a motorcycle repair shop in Sarasota; therefore in 1948 in a three-car garage on an alley on 3rd Street Hap and Lewis Puckett opened “Sarasota Motorcycle Co.,” which was the first motorcycle shop in Sarasota. Eventually Hap and Lewis became a Harley-Davidson dealer and moved the store to 4th Street; they then changed the name to Puckett’s of Sarasota.
In the late 1950s Hap became the sole owner and changed the name again to Hap’s Cycle Sales. Hap’s is currently the oldest BMW motorcycle dealership in the United States and one of the oldest Honda dealerships as well.
Hap was a member of the Hap’s Gulf Coast Riders, Sarasota Area Dirt Riders Association, Sunbeemers, charter lifetime member of the American Motorcycle Association (A.M.A.), Swiss American Club of Sarasota, one of the founders of the Sandslingers Motorcycle Club, the Florida Trail Riders, member of the Florida Independent Motorcycle Dealer Association and the co-founder of the Chrome Motorcycle Park.
Hap’s famous saying of “You do ride a motorcycle, don’t you?” will live on in our hearts forever.
Hap was preceded in death by his wife, “Bunny” Harriet Katheryn Poneleit.
He is survived by his brother, Jack Poneleit of St. Petersburg; his loving fiancée, Nancy Hoigne of Sarasota; his children, Dennis Poneleit (Lola), Alice Poneleit Bixler (David) and Robert Poneleit (Valerie), all of Sarasota; and a son, Stephen Poneleit of Venice; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
Hap’s viewing was held at Toale Brothers Colonial Chapel, 40 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15. His funeral was held on Monday, August 16th, at Suncoast Community Church, 8084 Hawkins Road, Sarasota, with burial service at Sarasota Memorial Park.
Donations can be sent to PBTF, 302 Ridgefield Court, Asheville, NC 28806, or the Arthritis Foundation , 410 12 St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205