Richard Petty Motorsports has announced that the NASCAR Hall of Famer's wife Linda had passed away Tuesday at 72. Lynda Gayle Owens Petty died peacefully at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina, after battling cancer for the past several years.
Lynda Petty first revealed that she had central nervous system-related Lymphoma that had affected her brain in 2010, and was undergoing chemotherapy at Duke Medical Center. Commenting on her time at Duke, Petty explained, "The days that I spent in the hospital at Duke were long and dark and I thought, 'will I ever be normal again."'
At one point, Petty went blind, lost the ability to walk and when she'd returned home, didn't recognize the house she'd lived in for 30 years. "I thought, 'Lord give me strength to get through this' because I knew it was going to be the battle of my life," Petty said in 2010, and added that prayers from fans kept her going.
Sad to hear about the passing of Lynda Petty. Thoughts and prayers.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 25, 2014
— FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 26, 2014
Love & prayers to The Petty family. Lynda was not only their matriarch but matriarch of our sport. Full of class & grace. #RIPLyndaPetty
— Krista Voda (@kristavoda) March 26, 2014
Richard and Lynda Petty pose at the White House with President Ronald Reagan back in June of 1985. pic.twitter.com/JRyjVYMr6o
— Nascar Memories (@NascarMemories) February 9, 2014
A eulogy featured on the Richard Petty Motorsports website reads that Lynda Petty was "one of the first women of NASCAR and its most beloved wife, mother and friend. Affectionately known as 'Mrs. Lynda' to so many, Lynda Petty set a standard for being a loving, supportive and, when needed, an authoritative wife and mother. She also set the benchmark for being a leader in her local community while raising a family in the fast-growing sport of stock car racing."
Petty is remembered for her involvement in forming the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a charity fund for injured members of the NASCAR community. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory called Petty a "gracious woman," adding that "She was the heart of the Pettys, always putting family first and giving them unconditional love as they took on the demands of competing at the highest level of racing. She was a great role model for North Carolina. Ann and I mourn her death and will keep her husband Richard and the entire Petty family in our thoughts and prayers."
A private memorial service is scheduled for Reverie Place in Randleman.
Image via YouTube