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Obituary: Virginia Shepherd Pierce

Virginia Shepherd Pierce, a 63-year resident of the City of Falls Church, died at age 91 in the presence of loved ones at her home here last Friday.

After moving from her childhood home in LaGrande, Oregon, to the Washington, D.C. area in 1935, she moved to Falls Church in 1944 and remained here ever since.

With three children, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, in her later years she was active at the Falls Church Senior Center and the Community Center.

Ms. Pierce was born October 10, 1915 in LaGrande to Earl and Anna Schermer Shepherd. She graduated from LaGrande High School in 1933 and had a scholarship to attend Reed College in Portland. However, due to the impact of the Great Depression, she was unable to attend.

Instead, she attended Draper’s School of Commerce in LaGrande in 1934, while also working as a stenographer for the U.S. Forestry Service in Pendleton, Oregon. In 1935 she headed off for the Washington, D.C. area.

She lived in Washington until 1938, and in Alexandria until 1944 before moving to Falls Church. In this area, she worked as a stenographer for the Interstate Commerce Commission until 1941.

Spending the next 13 years raising her family, in 1954 she went to work as a hospital aide at Arlington Hospital. In 1956 she became the owner-operator of the Dairy Queen in Falls Church until 1960. In 1968 she became a secretary for the Federal Aviation Administration in Falls Church until 1971, and in 1973 was a secretary for the American Red Cross in Arlington until 1977. She then became a secretary for the Federal Aviation Administration until 1981.

She has been a custom cake design decorator since the 1960s, a troop leader for the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts, a Senior Olympics medalist, and was active at the Falls Church Senior Center in aerobics, walking groups and bingo. She was a pianist, gourmet cook, seamstress and “prayer warrior.”

She’s volunteered with the Red Cross as a six-gallon lifetime blood donor, a “Gray Lady” hospital volunteer in the maternity ward at Arlington Hospital and a “telephone reassurance” volunteer for shut-ins.

She is survived by her children, Raiford S. Pierce of McLean, Meredith P. Dozier of Herndon and Alycon T. Pierce of Falls Church, all in Virginia, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her marriage in 1938 to attorney William R. Pierce ended in divorce.

Visitation will be this Friday at Murphy’s Funeral Home, 1102 W. Broad St., Falls Church, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Services will be there Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m.