She went from the top of the world to enduring a tragedy that no mother should ever know. Pattie Petty (photos below) is the wife of the famous racing legend who is now living a separate life from her husband. Kyle Petty’s wife recently shared her current life in an interview with an online magazine.
It was just twelve years ago in 2000 that her beloved son Adam died in a racing accident while warming up for the Busch 200 in New Hampshire. He was just 19 years old and the apparent heir to a racing empire founded by his father Kyle. As often happens after couples lose children, it pulled the family further apart rather than bringing them closer together. I don’t know why that happens but it happens far too often, turning one awful tragedy into two. Now she is living a separate life away from her husband in an entirely different state.
Biography: Pattie Petty was born Patty Huffman and is 60 years old. She had three children in all with Kyle, all of them boys. The other kids are named Austin and Montgomery Lee. Pattie lives in Nashville, Tennessee now while he has remained at their family home in North Carolina. The couple are still friends and perhaps still love each other as they have no plans for divorce.
Mrs. Petty has a graduate degree in child psychology and taught school while still a single girl in Randolph County, North Carolina. She paid most of her own way through graduate school by working as a Winston Girl on the weekends. You see, Patty Huffman was quite the looker and soon she would have the attention of a famous racing family.
She met her husband in an interesting way. Her family breeds horses and his family was looking for some in the late 1970s. So the chance meeting of buyers and sellers brought them into each others lives. The fell in love quickly and he jokingly proposed by placing an engagement ring on the feed trough of her horses. They eventually married on February 4th, 1979. He flew from the wedding that day to Daytona and one a race later in the day.
Pattie suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a diagnosis that was just made last year in 2011. She began to suspect the illness after noticing symptoms that mirrored those of her father who died after a long battle with the disease. Pattie had aching muscles and tremors when sitting still, and the doctors confirmed the disease by using a state of the art test that is getting a lot of attention in the medical literature. You can read that story here. She said at the time, “I am relieved that my family and I are confident in my diagnosis and can focus on the work we have ahead of us to live with Parkinson’s disease.”
Along with her husband, Pattie founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, North Carolina, which offers sick children the opportunity to participate in a camp experience like other more fortunate kids. The project launched in 2004 as a memorial tribute to her son and was instantly successful serving the children of over 4,000 families. It was so successful that she and her husband decided to build a second camp in Kansas called the Victory Junction Midwest camp.
She then moved to Kansas City to make the second project very personal to her heart. She worked tirelessly on the new camp, but despite her effort she was told by the board in April 2012 that they didn’t want her anymore. She was dismissed from her own brainchild idea and she says that she still does not understand why. You can read more here.
Let’s hope that Pattie Petty lives her remaining years as the productive and beautiful women inside who has blessed the world with her presence. You can listen to her in the video talk about her Victory Junction project while cuddling a cute little doggie. How cute!