Mar 25, 2014, 5:04 PM EDT
Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty and mother of a group of four children that includes former Cup driver and current NBCSN contributor Kyle Petty, has passed away at the age of 72.
The ‘First Lady of NASCAR’ was diagnosed with central nervous system lymphoma in 2010 and underwent treatments at Duke University Medical Center.
The Petty family has issued the following statement on the loss of their matriarch:
“We wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and our family throughout the years and at this time. We will forever love and miss a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend.”
A release that accompanied the statement said that Mrs. Petty passed peacefully at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina, surrounded by the family.
She is proceeded in death by grandson Adam and survived by her husband of 55 years, Richard; her son, Kyle; her daughters Sharon and husband Terry Farlow; Lisa and husband Charlie Luck; Rebecca and husband Brian Moffitt; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
One of her grandchildren, Austin Petty, is the COO of the Pettys’ Victory Junction Camp for seriously ill children. In his own statement, he hailed Mrs. Petty as “the cornerstone” of the family:
“We have lost my grandmother, but my family and our Victory Junction family are grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years. It was no secret that she was the cornerstone of the Petty family; a woman of humility and extraordinary strength. While we mourn her death, we also celebrate her life and the profound impact she had on those who knew her. The pride she had in her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren was shared with us through her unconditional love. Her strong example of leadership outside of her home was most recently acknowledged by the Association of Fundraising Professionals when she, along with my grandfather, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award for her personal commitment to seriously ill children and to our American troops. We honor my grandmother’s legacy of inspiration and enduring love at Victory Junction today and always.”
Additionally, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France called her “an integral part of the NASCAR landscape” in his thoughts on the loss:
“On behalf of the France Family and everyone at NASCAR, I want to offer sincere condolences to the Petty Family regarding the loss of their beloved matriarch, Lynda Petty. Through the years, Lynda became an integral part of the NASCAR landscape. We have lost a true friend, who will be missed each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Pettys throughout this difficult time.”
A private memorial service will be held for family and friends in Randleman, North Carolina. A public memorial will not be held.
In lieu of flowers, fans are asked to donate to:
Petty Family Foundation
311 Branson Mill Road
Randleman, N.C. 27317
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