CHARLOTTE, NC (Joe Marusak/Charlotte Observer) - A private funeral is scheduled Monday for the mother of retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Family and close friends of Brenda Jackson will pay their respects from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, at Heritage House at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home and Crematory in Mooresville. Family and close friends are then invited to a private Celebration of Life memorial service from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, also at Heritage House, according to Jackson’s obituary.
Jackson died Monday, April 22, after battling cancer, her family said in the obituary. She was 65.
Jackson worked 15 years at Mooresville-based JR Motorsports, the NASCAR team led by her son and daughter, Kelley Earnhardt Miller. She joined the team as an accounting specialist in 2004, according to a JR Motorsports news release.
Jackson’s name has been painted onto JR Motorsports Xfinity series cars to pay tribute to her life, NASCAR on NBC reported.
“Known for her wit, charisma and unparalleled ability to cut to the heart of any matter, Jackson became an instant favorite to her friends and colleagues at JR Motorsports,” according to the JR Motorsports news release. “Her sarcastic musings and straightforward approach injected a brand of humor at JR Motorsports that became part of its fabric as it grew into a full-time NASCAR racing operation in 2006 and a championship-winning organization in 2014.”
Jackson’s father, NASCAR fabricator Robert Gee of Virginia, built cars for many NASCAR drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Sr. She married Earnhardt in 1972, and the couple had Kelley and Dale Jr. before separating, according to the JR Motorsports release.
After returning to Virginia, she married Norfolk firefighter Willie Jackson in 1985. When Willie Jackson retired in 2004, the couple and step-daughter Meredith returned to North Carolina and began work at JR Motorsports, according to the team news release.
“Along with her passions for gardening, fashion, cooking and home decorating, Brenda was especially devoted to her children and grandchildren,” according to the release. “During Dale Jr.’s well-documented battle with concussions, she was a staunch supporter of his decision to retire from full-time racing. She also was a tireless supporter of The Dale Jr. Foundation and other charitable efforts.“
On Monday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he was glad his mom’s suffering had ended “and she can be at peace. She would be in tears of happiness over the words of support and remembrance she’s been shown today. Our family appreciates it as well. She will live in our hearts forever.”