Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obituaries of Note: The Pink Lady, Donna Mae Mims

Donna Mae Mims, a memorable and groundbreaking woman who loved pink and racing corvettes, died on October 6 at age 82. In accordance with her wishes, her body sat in state behind the wheel of her pink Corvette. A procession of Corvettes lead from the service to a luncheon following the funeral service at Beinhauer Funeral home in Peters, PA.

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Following is an excerpt from the obituary by Jessica Turnbull in the Pittsburg Tribune:

Donna Mae Mims wanted to be behind the steering wheel when friends said goodbye to the woman who made history when she became the first female to win the Sports Car Club of America championship in 1963. Mims, 82, of Bridgeville died Tuesday of a stroke. She was known as the "Pink Lady" of sports car racing for her signature color — blonde hair dyed pink and "Think Pink" emblazoned across her cars. Mims was introduced to racing after she and her former husband bought a Corvette. He wouldn't let her paint it pink, so she put what would become her motto — "Think Pink" — on the side. When the two split, she kept his name, the car and a love of racing.

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After she retired from racing in the 1970s, she helped start the Steeltown Corvette Club and the Three Rivers Corvette Club, while volunteering with the Sports Car Club of America and the Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania.

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In 1972, Mims organized a three-woman team to participate in the original Brook Yates' Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. The Cannonball Run was an illegal cross-country race from New York to Los Angeles, which took about 36 hours to complete. Mims' team, in a Cadillac limousine, didn't make it to the finish line. A team member fell asleep at the wheel in Texas and flipped the car. Mims, asleep in the back seat, recalled waking up and thinking she was in a washing machine. Mims walked away from the crash with a broken collarbone, but she feared the worst. That's because a Spanish-speaking doctor backed away while examining her. He told a translator that Mims' hands and face were both green. The porta-potty in the car, which had been emptied at the previous pit stop, had spilled chemicals all over Mims, turning her green.

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization. dailyundertaker@gmail.com