Lynda Petty, wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, died at the age of 72 on Tuesday after battling cancer for several years.
Petty Motorsports spokesman Jeff Dennison said in a statement that Petty was surrounded by her family when she passed away at her home in Level Cross, N.C.
Lynda Petty was a founding member of the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a benevolent fund for injured members of the NASCAR community. The group was founded by the wives of drivers, crew, and sponsors. The organization’s mission is to “enrich the lives of women, children and families through educational and wellness programs.”
“Through the years, Lynda became an integral part of the NASCAR family. 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,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.
Lynda Petty is survived by her husband Richard, their son, two daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Lynda Petty was treated in 2010 for a brain tumor and Central Nervous System Lymphoma. She was eventually declared cancer free, but physical issues caused by cancer treatment, including mini strokes, led to a decline in her overall health.
Richard Petty, who won NASCAR seven times, and the former Lynda Owens were high school sweethearts. The two wed in 1958, just after Petty’s driving career got its start.
She was 17 and still in high school, and he was 21 when they married.
Lynda Petty remained home to run the Petty household and raise their four children while Richard Petty competed in as many as 40 races a year across the United States. Women were, at the time, restricted from being in the NASCAR garage.
“While we mourn her death, we also celebrate her life and the profound impact she had on those who knew her,” said Austin Petty, Lynda and Richard’s grandson. He is also chief operating officer of Victory Junction, a camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.
A private memorial service is scheduled for Reverie Place in Randleman. No date or time was given.
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