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Utah House Rep. LaWanna "Lou" Shurtliff dies at 85

Rep. Lou Shurtliff.jpg
Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 16:38:00-05

OGDEN, Utah — Utah House Rep. LaWanna "Lou" Shurtliff died Wednesday at 85.

Shurtliff, a Democrat from Ogden, served in the House for nearly decade beginning in 1999 and returned in 2018.

Family say Shurtliff first became ill on Dec. 6 and was hospitalized at McKay Dee Hospital for pneumonia. On Wednesday, it was determined to let her die "peacefully" surrounded by family when she was unable to come off ventilator support.

"She was first and foremost a loving mother, committed grandmother, and generous great-grandmother. Her absence is already deeply felt by our family and her presence will be sorely missed throughout the community," the family wrote on Facebook.

Many Utah politicians sent messages of condolence after the passing of the longtime state lawmaker.

"Rep Lou Shurtliff was a wonderful teacher and public servant," tweeted Gov. Gary Herbert. "This is a sad day for all who had the very good luck to know her or work with her."

"A dedicated teacher and legislator, Rep. Lou Shurtliff worked tirelessly in service to others. Her passing is a sad loss for Utah. Ann and I send our prayers to her loved ones during this difficult time," Sen. Mitt Romney posted to Twitter.

"She passed legislation for victims of domestic violence, establishing some of the first stalking injunctions in the country and increasing funding for Utah schools and teachers," said Jeff Merchant, Utah Democratic Party Chair in a statement. "Lou worked with members on both sides of the aisle to make sure that legislation that helped her constituents got passed. She was a great friend, dedicated teacher and legislator, who loved her family and the people she represented. We will miss her dearly."

Funeral plans for Shurtliff have yet to be announced.