Joseph R. Hendrick Jr., father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and company president John Hendrick, passed away Wednesday evening at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was 84.
Over the years, Papa Joe Hendrick became a fixture at Hendrick Motorsports, most recently co-owning the No. 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team and the No. 5 NASCAR Busch Series team with grandson Ricky Hendrick, while spearheading the organization's show-car operation.
A decorated veteran, Papa Joe proudly served his country in World War II as a flight engineer and gunner in the Air Force.
In June, Gov. Mike Easley presented Papa Joe and his wife, Mary, with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine -- the state of North Carolina's highest honor bestowed on a citizen for dedication and extended length of service to his or her organization.
Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will be immediately followed by a 1 p.m. memorial service at the Central Church of God, 5301 Sardis Rd., Charlotte, NC 28270.
For friends and family in Virginia, a Sunday graveside service will be held at Union Chapel Methodist Church in Palmer Springs at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
Nazareth Children's Home
P.O. Box 1438
Rockwell, NC 28138
Papa Joe Hendrick Fund
care of the Hendrick Marrow Program
4400 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28262.