Pamela Snow Hinton, called "a female pioneer" in motor racing public relations, and for the past 28 years the wife of ESPN.com senior writer Ed Hinton, has died of cancer, according to family members. She was 59.
"She was one of the great ladies of racing," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, former president of Speedway Motorsports Inc. "She was a pioneer whose attention to detail probably saved a bunch of us -- it certainly did me."
"I am so, so sorry," said Benoit Froger, former marketing director for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. "For us this is very, very difficult."
Known as "Snow" on both sides of the Atlantic, "she touched the lives of, and was loved by, hundreds of people," said her close friend Alexis Leras, former NASCAR public relations director.
"She was a female pioneer," said Wheeler, with whom she worked at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 1970s. "When she came into it, women weren't even allowed in the garage area. She persevered, and became one of the first women to walk through those gates.
"She was one of the people who proved females would have a major part in NASCAR. That has certainly come true, because so many women play such important roles in racing now."
"Snow was every bit as sweet, kind and wonderful as her name is beautiful," Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said. "Her family and friends were blessed to have her and are glad that she is at peace now after such a long, difficult battle."
"She had a warm, wonderful, welcoming personality," added Wheeler. "People would come in to investigate racing on behalf of corporations to see if they wanted to participate, and she was usually the first person they met."
"The world is a considerably more drab and boring place without her," said Mike Harris, longtime chief motorsports writer for The Associated Press.
A native of Ilion, N.Y., Snow Hinton initially worked in public relations efforts for drivers such as Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Benny Parsons. She moved to Atlanta after she and Hinton married in 1983. After their only child, Tyler, was born in 1988, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. But she remained a community activist.
"I have to reckon that God has a very special place in heaven for her, for putting up with old Ed all these years," Reuters motorsports writer Lewis Franck said.
Rob Fleder, former executive editor of Sports Illustrated, where Ed Hinton worked in the 1990s, called her passing "terribly sad news."
Snow Hinton was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
She is survived by husband Ed; son Tyler of Birmingham, Ala.; two brothers, Dr. Steven C. White of Rockville, Md., and Jerome S. White of Utica, N.Y.; a stepbrother, Foster "Bud" Simmons of Arvada, Colo.; and two uncles, Dr. David White and the Rev. Wiley White, both of Tempe, Ariz.