Emily Couric Dies

Senator Emily Couric succumbed to pancreatic cancer this morning, surrounded by friends and family. She was 54.

10 Responses to “Emily Couric Dies”


  • I’ve utterly failed at writing this. I just don’t have it in me. The worst part was writing that headline. The headline made it real.

    You write something about her. I can’t just yet.

  • This is just so sad. I can hardly see my keyboard. It is such a cliche to say, “to know her is to love her” but that’s all I can think. A bright light has gone out in Virginia.

    Janis Jaquith

  • What the hell is Wina talking about? They’re talking about self actualizing and playing “Somethinig To Talk About.” Why didn’t they stop everything and have people call in and talk about Sen Couric?

  • Emily Couric, Virginia Senator, dies at 54
    Democratic Party leader fought for education and health care

    Emily Couric, 54, Virginia State Senator for the 25th District since 1995 and a former school board chairman, died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 18 at home in Charlottesville.

    A strong and effective advocate for public education and health care issues, Couric’s legislative accomplishments include bills establishing the Advanced Mathematics and Technology Diploma Seal for high school graduates, the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative to support research and rehabilitation for victims of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and the nation’s first state law mandating health insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screenings.

    A leader in the Virginia Democratic Party, Couric explored a race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor until she was diagnosed with cancer in July 2000. She had been regarded as the front-runner for the party’s nomination and a strong candidate for the general election. After withdrawing from the race, and while undergoing treatment for her disease, she was elected to serve as General Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia in December 2000.

    Couric served on the Virginia Senate’s Committees on Education and Health; Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; and Rehabilitation and Social Services. She also was appointed to the legislature’s Commission on the Future of Public Education, Commission on Access and Diversity in Higher Education, and Early Childhood and Child Day Care Programs Commission. During her tenure in the General Assembly, Couric served on the Southern Regional Education Board and the Southern Legislative Conference Education Committee, and numerous other policy committees.

    Several organizations recognized Couric with awards for her work in the legislature, including the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Technology Education Association, Northern Virginia and Piedmont Virginia Technology Councils, American College of Gastroenterology, Virginia State Fraternal Order of Police, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge, Virginia Women’s Forum, and Virginia Press Women.

    Prior to her election to the Senate, Couric served on the Charlottesville School Board from 1985-1991, including one term as chairman. She was a member of numerous community boards and organizations, among them the Boys & Girls Club, Charlottesville Area School Business Alliance, Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Virginia National Bank, Virginia Festival of the Book, Heritage Repertory Theatre, WVPT Public Television, Camp Holiday Trails, and Downtown Charlottesville Inc.

    A writer and journalist by profession, Couric previously worked as an author specializing in articles and books about the legal profession. She received the first place prize for non-fiction from the National Association of Press Women for her book, The Trial Lawyers: The Nation’s Top Litigators Tell How They Win.

    Before moving to Charlottesville in 1981, Couric worked as a public information officer and speechwriter for the federal government; as a reporter for a weekly newspaper; as the editor of a lawyers’ newsletter; and as a high school biology teacher.

    Couric was born in Atlanta, Ga. She moved to Virginia in 1951. A 1965 graduate of Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va., she received a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in 1969, graduating with honors, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.

    Couric is survived by her husband of 20 years, George A. Beller, M.D. of Charlottesville, Va.; son Ray Wadlow, M.D. and daughter-in-law Jessica, of Philadelphia, Pa.; and son Jeff Wadlow of Los Angeles, Ca. She is also survived by her parents, Elinor and John M. Couric of Arlington, Va.; her siblings, Clara Couric Batchelor, John M. Couric, Jr., and Katie Couric; step-children Michael Beller, Amy Beller, and Leslie Beller; seven nieces and nephews, and two step-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

  • The memorial service will be held at 1pm on Monday, at St. Paul’s Memorial Church — that’s the big one on the Corner, just past Mincer’s on the right.

  • Ms. Couric has been an inspiration, a political figure who signified hope for a tolerant and better Virginia. I feel shock and sadness at the passing of such a truly great stateswoman. She will surely be missed, more perhaps than we will ever know.

  • Rumor on the street is that both David Toscano and Meredith Richards were on the phones within minutes of Emily’s death, jockeying for position to replace her. Oh well, I guess that’s politicians fer ya….their ambition knows no bounds………..

  • “Rumor on the street”? Why would you want to repeat such gossip?

    And then, to dismiss it as what’s to be expected from politicians? I think if we expected more from politicians (and waiters, and news broadcasters, and salesclerks, and… ourselves) we might find that people would live up to those expectations.

    I have no idea what David Toscano and Meredith Richards were talking about on the telephone, but I suspect that, like many of the rest of us, they were talking about their sadness at the early passing of a friend. Unless you were a party to those conversations, please, assume that these good people act with the best of intentions.

    Harry Landers

  • This is a terrible time for everyone. As a republican I thought that if anyone was going to beat this illness it was going to be Emily. Having said that it is a unfortunate thing that it has to be discussed- but it must be. The discussions have been held in private will become more public in the next few days. Life does go on and as long as one is respectful- elections must go forward. I am not sure what the perfect response is. However there will be an election in about 60 days.

    This is never easy and no one can ever replace Emily, but she would have understand the need to mourn and move forward at the same time. I wish all this could be put on hold until after the elections this fall. However this will decide who will represent 100 of thousands of Virginian’s in the next General Assembly, starting in January.

    On a personal note I think that Emily was one of the hardest working and most gracious of any poltican I have had the pleasure of watching. I, for one, will celebrate the shining example of what politics can be- good and noble people stepping forward to serve. I can only hope that Emily inspires the future generation. I know she has inspired me.

    P

  • Thanks to Harry Landes for taking up for me and David Toscano. We indeed were supporters and friends of Emily Couric’s, having both worked for her election and re-election and helped her raise funds for both campaigns. It is disturbing that someone would post anonymous gossip that exploits what we and thousands of others in our community feel as a deep loss and terrible misfortune for Emily, to paint a picture of naked ambition among just a couple of “politicians.”

    Any time I spent on the phone during the days before and after the memorial service for Emily was spent trying to talk both Mitch Van Yahres and Susan Payne into running for her vacated senate seat. Mitch was never really interested, but I kept trying, and I vocally encouraged others to talk to him as well. He just seemed like the right person, and one Emily would have wanted. To Susan, I pledged 100% support if she would seriously consider running. She is a great friend and I would love to have seen her run for Emily’s seat. She would have been a winner!

    It was only after both Mitch and Susan had firmly said, “no, thanks,” that I decided to declare for the nomination. Sorry if this doesn’t fit the image of the ambitious woman, but it’s the best I have to offer. Better the truth than petty street gossip.

    Meredith Richards

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