Betty Jane France, founder and chairwoman emeritus of the NASCAR Foundation and wife of former NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France Jr., died Monday, according to a statement from the family.
Lesa France Kennedy, her daughter, said in a statement on her mother’s passing that appeared on the International Speedway Corporation Web site.
“Betty Jane France...played a significant role in NASCAR’s history, leading the charge to elevate the experience of our sport for the fans who love it, and her philanthropic efforts will forever remain a part of our sport,” said Kennedy’s statement.
“My mother launched the NASCAR Foundation as a steadfast champion of children’s healthcare and in 2011, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor. In her hometown of Daytona Beach, she served as a community leader touching countless lives with her charitable efforts. She was very touched and proud last year when Halifax Health Medical Center unveiled a statue just outside the hospital tower which also bears our family’s name.
“Beyond her greatest community service, her starring role was that of mother to my brother Brian and me. She was an incredible role model, cherished friend, and someone who demonstrated limitless possibilities that helped so many people pursue their dreams.”
The NASCAR Foundation reports France was a native of Winston-Salem and met her husband, William C. France in her hometown. They married and relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he rose through the ranks to become the Chairman and CEO of NASCAR. He passed away in June, 2007.
Her children, Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, are two of America’s brightest corporate leaders, the foundation says.
A longtime community leader in Daytona Beach, Betty Jane is perhaps best known as a steadfast champion of health care for children. She helped create the “Speediatrics” children’s care unit at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach and was instrumental in a similar unit at Homestead Hospital, Homestead, Florida.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor in 2011 to recognize outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans, the NASCAR Foundation says.
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