John Force's mother Betty Ruth dies at age 77 10/20/2001 - Betty Ruth Force, 77, mother of 10-time Winston Funny Car Champion John Force, passed away early this morning following a lengthy illness. Despite his mourning, John has elected to stay...
John Force's mother Betty Ruth dies at age 77
10/20/2001 - Betty Ruth Force, 77, mother of 10-time Winston Funny Car Champion John Force, passed away early this morning following a lengthy illness. Despite his mourning, John has elected to stay at the 16th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec and continue the race. "It's what she'd want me to do," he said.
Mrs. Force, a native of Broken Arrow, Okla., moved west in the 1940s and settled in Bell Gardens, Calif., where she raised a family that included John, older brothers Walker, Louie, and Thomas and daughter Cindy.
"She was almost 80 years old, but she packed a hundred years into her life," Force said. "She was a big fan of drag racing, as responsible for getting me to this point as Austin Coil or Bernie Fedderly."
Mrs. Force, who had undergone dialysis treatments for several years, was released from the hospital earlier this week and had been allowed to return home. Her daughter was with her when she died at approximately 2 a.m. (CST) Saturday.
"My sister was with her and she said she died very peacefully and I'm happy for that," Force said. "She was so weak. I think her heart finally just gave out. It hurts, but one of the last things she told me was that she was going to a better place to be with my dad.
"It's something everyone goes through. The toughest part for me was having to tell my daugher, Ashley, who's with me this weekend, because she really loved her grandmother."
As the youngest child, Force was especially close to his mother. Childhood friend Bruce Thorsen, now a Fort Worth, Texas, resident, recalled that when Mrs. Force worked at Denny's in Bell Gardens, he and John would ride their bicycles to the restaurant three or four times every day just to check in.
In lieu of flowers, or other condolences, the family has asked that friends consider instead making a donation to the American Red Cross, Liberty Disaster Relief Fund effort for New York City and Washington D.C. You may donate by making out a check or money order to: American Red Cross - Liberty Disaster Relief Fund.