Lou Kassem, 88, passed away at home on Friday, Aug. 14.
Lou was the daughter of Dorothy and R.E. Morrell of Elizabethton, Tenn. She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, John Morrell; and her daughter, Dottie Kassem Riviere. Lou was surrounded by her husband, Shakeep, and daughters Cherrie and Lisa Kassem and Amy- Leigh Kubicki.
Lou attended East Tennessee State University. She married her high school sweetheart, Shakeep, in Blacksburg in the fall of 1951. They were married 69 years.
Blacksburg was Lou’s home for the past 69 years. She devoted her life to her family and loved Blacksburg and the mountains. She contributed much to education in Blacksburg as a storyteller, playwright and member of the PTA.
She served on the Blacksburg Town Council for six years and was active in the Blacksburg United Methodist Church. She supported the Junior Women’s Club and was instrumental in the development of the Blacksburg Park Playground.
Lou worked at the Blacksburg Town Library for more than eight years, helping others emulate her love of books and the impact they can have on a life. At age 45, Lou realized her dream of becoming an author. Her purpose was to help young adults feel seen and heard and to know they were not alone in this quest called life.
She published 12 young-adult books. Her books about teenage life and high school struggles focused on helping young adults find and believe in themselves, even if they didn’t fit in or were different. She spoke at more than 250 schools in Virginia and numerous universities across the country. She helped other writers improve their writing and understand the publishing process.
Books were Lou’s first love (next to her husband, Shakey) but she also enjoyed playing golf all over the country, traveling to Ireland and Scotland and hiking mountain trails. Some of her favorite local trails were the Huckleberry, Pandapas Pond and Deerfield.
Countless lives have been touched by Lou’s humor, her caring nature, her perspective-on-life and the encouragement to find and be themselves. It is important to the family not only to celebrate Lou’s life, but also to recognize their wonderful Burruss Drive neighbors and the Blacksburg Rescue Squad.
A memorial service will be held today, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, at 2 p.m. in the McCoy Funeral Home Chapel, 150 Country Club Dr. in Blacksburg. Visitation will be held at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Blacksburg branch of the Montgomery County Library system. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.