Victoria Gadson, computer analyst and devoted motorcycle rider.

Posted: June 25, 2013

VICKY GADSON didn't hear her teenage son sneaking out of the house on those long-ago summer evenings, opening the garage door and wheeling her motorcycle out to the street.

Or, at least, she pretended not to.

Her son, Richard, would borrow Mom's bike regularly to race through city streets with his buddies. Maybe she was able to rest more securely in the knowledge that Rickey knew what he was doing. After all, he had been riding two-wheelers since age 5.

Mother and son were part of a family tradition that saw motorcycles as a normal mode of transportation - and fun.

Her husband was Richard "Suicide" Gadson, a legendary biker who was the only civilian in the New York City Police Department allowed to ride in its thrill shows.

He was killed on his motorcycle in West Philadelphia in 1979.

His death didn't prevent Rickey from becoming an internationally known motorcycle drag racer, winner of 10 national championships.

Or to prevent his mother from riding motorcycles into her 70s.

Victoria Gadson, a former professional dancer who performed around the East Coast, a computer analyst who helped companies update their mainframes when the century changed, and loving family matriarch, died Tuesday of lung cancer. She was 77 and lived in West Philadelphia.

"She was a fiery, fierce mother, but very loving," Rickey said. "She gave me more love than I could handle sometimes. She supported me all the way. She took me to motorcycle races. She let me follow that path."

Vicky was born in New York City to Mario and Victoria Diaz, natives of Puerto Rico. She grew up and was educated in the Bronx. She later studied computer science.

She started riding motorcycles in 1954. She married Richard Gadson, who received his nickname of "Suicide" after an incident when a tractor-trailer pulled in front of him and he turned his 1953 Harley on its side, skidded under the truck, came up on the other side and rode away.

He was killed years later when a car driven by a 17-year-old new driver turned into him on 54th Street.

Vicky was a professional dancer, performing the mambo and Lindy Hop with various partners in venues such as the Apollo Theater and Savoy Ballroom in New York, the Uptown in Philly and Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

She traveled to London to attend the Jiving Lindy Hoppers exhibition dancing in 1999 and 2000.

"Vicky was a performer by nature," her family said. Vicky was an independent contractor for "Y2K" - when businesses feared the coming of the millennium would upset their computer systems. She was in great demand by companies seeking to update their main frames.

"She prided herself mostly on being an extremely intelligent woman and proving it to any who thought differently," her family said.

Besides her son, Vicky is survived by a daughter, Richelle Hines; 12 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by another son, Emory Otis "Skip" Gadson.

Vicky Gadson has a surviving brother, Mario Diaz and a niece, Doreen and nephew Eric, both Diaz. Mario’s wife is named Cookie.

Services: 11 a.m. Wednesday at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave. Friends may call at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Mitchell Funeral Home, 1410 S. 20th St., and at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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