KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) – Brenda Jackson, mother of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a long-standing employee of JR Motorsports along with her daughter Kelley Earnhardt Miller, died after a fight with cancer. She was 65 years old.
The team announced her dead Monday.
Jackson was the daughter of NASCAR manufacturer Robert Gee, who built cars for various racers, including the late Dale Earnhardt. She married Earnhardt in 1972, had two children, and Dale Jr. and Kelley stayed with her mother when the couple separated and Earnhardt chased a career in NASCAR.
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After a fire left the trio homeless Jackson moved to Virginia and Dale Jr. and Kelley was moved to live with her father. She married Norfolk Fireman Willie Jackson in 1985 and returned to North Carolina to work with Kelley and Dale Jr. Jackson joined the races team owned by her two children as accounting specialist in 2004. Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash in the last round in 2001 Daytona 500.
Jackson was a strong supporter of his son’s decision to retire from full-time games due to concussion, and she was an indefatigable supporter of The Dale Jr. Foundation and other charitable efforts.
She is survived by her husband, two children, a stepdaughter, six grandchildren and two brothers.