Burbank musician, bicyclist and ultra-marathon runner Roy Wiegand, 60, known citywide for his charitable efforts, died last Saturday while on the last leg of a 2,500-mile-long cycling trip aimed at raising money for clean running water for the Navajo Nation.
Wiegand was on day 26 of his journey — having traveled through Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada — and was making his way back down the coast of Northern California on his way home when he was hit by a pickup truck in Santa Cruz on July 29.
“Roy was my section mate and cycling buddy. One of Los Angeles’ top trumpet players, a relentlessly great hang and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known,” said Terry Landry, a friend of Wiegand. “The belly laughs he gave us were long and plenty, but he was also one of the most deeply good human beings ever. For those who didn’t know Roy, this is what I want you to know about him: He lost his life in service to those less fortunate than himself.”
Wiegand was a longtime supporter of DigDeep and the Navajo Water Project, nonprofits dedicated to bringing clean running water to every home in the Navajo Nation, DigDeep said in a statement on its website.
In 2021, Wiegand created Roy’s Ride, a yearly event where he rode his bike across multiple states to raise awareness and funds for the Navajo Water Project.
The day before his passing, Wiegand posted on Facebook that he had raised $26,000, exceeding his initial fundraising goals for Roy’s Ride.
This year, Wiegand set his most ambitious journey yet, biking 2,500 miles and surpassing his fundraising goal for the cause well ahead of schedule, according to the DigDeep website.
“His influence went much further than just dollars raised — Roy inspired and educated people everywhere he went with his spirit of generosity and compassion. Our deepest condolences go out to Roy’s family, friends and community. He will truly be missed,” stated DigDeep.
Through donations like those raised by Wiegand, DigDeep and the Navajo Water Project delivered more than one million gallons of clean, sustainably sourced water to homes in the Navajo Nation in 2022.
Charity rides and ultra-marathons were a longtime passion for Wiegand, who was a champion of many causes, friends said.
In 2014, Wiegand shifted the focus of his charity runs after a local child, Christopher Wilke, died from cancer at 12 years old.
His father, Joe Wilke, was staggered by Wiegand’s kindness, and his ability to imbue a tragic situation with positivity.
To honor Christopher Wilke’s life, Wiegand ran a triple marathon dedicated to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer, which supports families who are affected by childhood cancer.
Joe Wilke said that Wiegand’s actions were a turning point for the Wilke family.
“It was huge for us, knowing that there are a lot of people out there supporting you. You realize you are not alone,” Joe Wilke told the Leader.
“It helped bring a community together around what would have normally been a tragic situation. That’s what Roy’s approach to life always was. Let’s try to find the better in the situation. Let’s see what we can do to improve the community’s lives and bring people together in what would have been a tragic event.”
And now that is exactly what the community is doing to honor Wiegand, Joe Wilke said.
Donations to the Navajo Water Project have swelled since Wiegand’s death, a sign that the community is carrying Wiegand’s torch.
Wiegand’s fundraising page has raised $37,684 for the Navajo Water Project as of the Leader’s publishing deadline Friday. Supporters can still donate at https://
Wiegand leaves behind a wife and two adult children. Many friends of the family came forward to honor Wiegand and his selfless commitment to helping others.
The Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Hollywood will hold a memorial service for Wiegand on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 11:30 a.m.
First published in the August 5 print issue of the Burbank Leader.