Brenda Jackson: 1954-2019

JR Motorsports has announced the passing of Earnhardt family matriarch Brenda Jackson at the age of 65, on April 22, 2019, following a hard fought battle with cancer.

Brenda was literally born into racing as the daughter of legendary NASCAR fabricator Robert Gee, who constructed winning cars for many celebrated drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, who she married in 1972. The pair had two children, Dale Jr., and Kelley, before splitting up over the pressure of his trying to establish his professional career.

After a house fire destroyed their home, Brenda took the kids back to her home state of Virginia to live with her father and begin a new life. She eventually married Norfolk firefighter Willie Jackson, in 1985. The family then moved back to North Carolina when Willie retired in 2004, and Brenda soon began working with Kelley and Dale Jr. at JR Motorsports as an accounting specialist,  for the next 15 years.

According to a company spokesman, “Jackson became an ‘instant favorite to her friends and colleagues at JR Motorsports, and her sarcastic musings and straightforward approach injected a brand of humor at became part of its fabric as it grew into a full-time NASCAR racing operation in 2006 and a championship-winning team in 2014.”

“I am a very, very lucky woman, as I get to interact with my kids almost every day,” she commented in 2018. “I’ve got two bright, beautiful kids that I am very proud of. Kelley’s standards are very high. She conducts herself that way and she expects that of everyone else. Dale Jr. just gets bigger and bigger. I am very proud of his accomplishments, but as a mother I am proudest of the way he handles himself with honesty and the way he cares about his family and his friends.”

She was also a staunch supporter of her son’s decision to retire from full-time racing due to his own health struggles caused by multiple concussions, and devoted much of her energy working with The Dale Jr. Foundation and other charitable efforts.

In addition to her children Dale Earnhardt Jr. (wife Amy), Kelley Earnhardt Miller (husband L.W.), Brenda Jackson is survived by her husband of 33 years, William M. Jackson Jr., step-daughter Meredith Davis (husband Jonathan); her grandchildren Karsyn Elledge (18), Kennedy Elledge (13), Wyatt Miller (7), Callahan Davis (16), Claudia Davis (13), and Isla Rose Earnhardt (11 months); her brothers Robert Gee (wife Beverly) and Jimmy Gee; as well as her much loved Pekingese dog, Scully.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Piedmont Animal Rescue or Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell.

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