Motorcyclist killed in Cary wreck was beloved owner of Knightdale martial arts school

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The beloved owner of a Knightdale martial arts school died in a motorcycle crash Tuesday morning in Cary. 

Dan Raines and his wife Kelly own Team Raines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Team Raines Shotokan Karate in Knightdale.

“My husband wanted to change people’s lives,” said Kelly Raines, who said they considered their students family. “Every night, we come home from the school and we talk about how lucky we were to have the most wonderful people here.”

Instead of their normal Tuesday evening class, students, parents, and coaches gathered at the school to share tears and memories.  

“This is one of those days that changes your life forever,” said coach and friend Eric Gillett.

Kellie Pearce’s 6-year-old daughter Kinley cried and asked her mother to share how much her teacher meant to her.

“The impact its had on her — we can only be thankful for him and all his compassion,” Pearce said. “We’ll remember him forever.” 

His compassion extended to the animal world. The Raines family also has a sanctuary for abused and neglected farm animals. His wife says there was kindness in everything her husband did.

“Just so generous,” she said through tears. “Generous with himself and mentoring kids from our students to adopting our son that has special needs. He’s selfless.”  

Though his family, friends, and coworkers are grieving, they’re also focused on continuing his legacy, hoping to keep the school open.

“He truly made a difference,” said Sarah Piersanti, a coach at the school. 

“I don’t think it’s how long you live. It’s how you live,” added coach Jerry Reid. “And Dan definitely lived the way we all should try to live.”

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