Shea, Loretta Pfister

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Loretta Pfister Shea of Blacksburg passed away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family on Thursday, October 17. Laurie, age 73, was beloved by all for her boundless empathy, intelligence, quiet but quick wit, and sage advice. She was small but mighty.

Laurie was raised along with five younger siblings in Park Ridge, IL, by Charles and Mary Virginia Pfister. She met her husband, Bob, while they were students at Clarke and Loras Colleges in Dubuque, IA. They relocated to Blacksburg with their three children in 1981. She received her PhD from Virginia Tech in Marriage and Family Therapy and spent 30 years in private practice.

Laurie could be seen walking or jogging around town. She was a trail-blazing female runner, racing the Boston Marathon in 1983; she still owns the family marathon record of 3:07. The family celebrated Laurie and Bob’s 60th birthdays by running the NYC Marathon in 2005, and she completed a half-marathon less than a year after treatment for cancer in 2012. Laurie was also a world traveler who loved adventure. She visited the Taj Mahal as a teenager, and continued traveling through this summer, to the remote Wrangell-St Elias park in Alaska.

Laurie is survived by her husband, Bob; children Rob, Julie, and Colleen; children-in-law, Anne, Tom, and Eric; grandchildren Lucy & Margot, Ryan & Evan, and Milo. Laurie is considered a spirit guide by countless family members near and far, friends, clients, and co-workers. Laurie cared deeply for everyone and wanted to help you live your best life.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Laurie’s memory to the American Cancer Society, Women’s Resource Center, Montgomery County League of Women’s Voters, or Habitat for Humanity NRV.