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Longtime GRHOF volunteer Vaudell Sosebee dies
Wife of local racing legend died at 93
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Vaudell Sosebee eats watermelon at a Relay for Life event in 2012. - photo by Angela Williamson

 

With her sparkling blue eyes, contagious smile and love for life and people, Vaudell Sosebee, wife of the late racing pioneer Gober Sosebee, is remembered fondly by the Dawsonville community after her death Sept. 6 at the age of 93.

Sosebee was a longtime volunteer at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, where she gave countless tours and spread her knowledge of the sport that put Dawsonville on the map.

“If a guest came in she did not just tell them to tour the museum, she personally carried them through the museum, telling them stories and showing them every little detail about the museum,” said fellow GRHOF volunteer Faye Abercrombie. “She was the most favorite, favorite tour guide we ever had. She never met a stranger.”

Abercrombie said that guests still come into the museum and ask for Sosebee, even though in recent years she had been unable to continue giving tours.

“Racing was her life, since her husband was a racer,” Abercrombie said. “She didn’t just know about it, she had lived there, she had been there.”

Gober Sosebee hailed from the ‘golden era’ of racing, and was a three-time Daytona Beach Road Course winner and had two wins in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. He died in 1996 and was among the inaugural group to be inducted to the racing hall of fame in 2002 along with Red Byron, Bill Elliott, Tim Flock, Roy Hall, Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay and Red Vogt. 

One of Vaudell’s favorite parts of the tour was showing guests the black and white 1939 Ford her husband gave to her as a gift. The car was found and secretly restored in 2014, and was then donated to the racing hall of fame.

Sosbee’s sons Brian and David were also racers, with David competing as a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver from 1979 to 1988.

Gordon Pirkle, local NASCAR historian and president of the hall of fame, knew Sosebee all his life.

Pirkle’s family had a tent at Lumpkin Campground, a few down from Gober Sosebee’s tent. Pirkle said that as a young boy he would attend the Sunday service there.

“I remember on Sunday morning, we kids would be waiting to see that white Cadillac pull up to see Gober get out and walk in the tent,” he said. “We didn't know what autographs was back then. But he always attended campmeeting. He was my hero. ”

Gober operated Cherokee Garage in Atlanta, and Pirkle said he never would confirm or deny if he carried moonshine.

With a husband and sons so involved in racing, Vaudell was a natural font of wisdom on the subject and even drove in powder puff races.

Ask her how she was, Pirkle said, and you’d always get the same reply: “Mean as ever.”

“She was something else,” Pirkle said.

“There was not a mean bone in her body,” Abercrombie said. “She was a true southern lady.”

According to her obituary, Vaudell was born and raised in Dawson County. During World War II she was employed by the Bell Aircraft Corporation (or Bell Bomber) and subsequently worked for Western Union for 28 years.

“She was a Rosie the Riveter,” Abercrombie said about Sosebee’s Bell Bomber days. “She said she always wanted to fly those planes but she wasn’t allowed.”

A funeral service for Vaudell was held Sept. 9 at Bearden Funeral Home and she was interred in the Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery. 

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Vaudell Sosebee sits in a restored 1939 Ford that was gifted to her by her late husband Gober. - photo by File photo

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