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Martha Earnhardt, racing family matriarch, has died

Funeral arrangements have not been announced
Martha Earnhardt
Martha Earnhardt(Provided photo)
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 10:30 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 26, 2021 at 11:20 AM CST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The matriarch of the Earnhardt family, Martha “Mamaw” Earnhardt, has died, according to two of her family members.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced their grandmother died Dec. 25 in a joint statement.

Martha lived in Kannapolis. She was the wife of Ralph and mother of Dale Sr., Danny Sr. Randy, Cathy and Kaye.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Martha Earnhardt passed away Christmas evening. As we grieve her loss and begin to imagine life without our beloved ‘Mamaw,’ we find solace in knowing she is at peace in eternal glory and in joyous reunion with her husband Ralph and sons Dale, Randy and Danny,” the statement read. “Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you so much for loving our Mamaw as if she were your own. She was not just the matriarch to our family, but she was the matriarch to multiple generations of race fans.”

Danny died just two weeks before, on Dec. 12.

[Danny Earnhardt Sr., younger brother of Dale Earnhardt Sr., dies at 66]

Martha was active in the racing community and the Kannapolis community. She has spoken to area children about the importance of reading and was named the grand marshal of the Kannapolis Christmas parade in 2017.

The mayor of Kannapolis, Darrell Hinnant, released a message about her death:

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Mrs. Martha Earnhardt.

In addition to being the matriarch of a legendary racing family she was a treasured member of our community. This was evidenced a few years ago when she was named the Kannapolis Christmas Parade Grand Marshal and thousands showed up to honor her.

If you dropped by her home you were always welcomed as if you were one of her family members that she loved so dearly. She would give you updates on all her children and their families and would want to ensure all was well with you.

On behalf of the City of Kannapolis we offer our deepest condolences to her family. She will be greatly missed.”

Martha drove her husband’s car in races before the men’s races, featuring Ralph. The two built a racing empire, JR Motorsports, that still stands strong today. Multiple members of the Earnhardt family are highly-revered NASCAR legends.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.

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