Lou Kassem, at the age of 88, passed away at home on Friday, August 14, 2020. Lou was the daughter of Dorothy and R.E. Morrell of Elizabethton, Tenn. She was preceded in death by her parents, 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
sixty-nine years! Blacksburg was Lou's home for the past 69 years. Lou 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 over 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. Lou 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 over
250 schools in Va. 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, caring nature, perspective-on-life, and
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 Blacksburg Rescue Squad. ...
Excerpt: "Lou Kassem is the author of a dozen juvenile novels
representing a variety of genres, among them humor, mystery, history,
and the supernatural. In books such as Middle School Blues, Listen for
Rachel, Secret Wishes, and A Haunting in Williamsburg, Kassem touches
on topics from growing pains to death and loss to peer pressure."
One of her more popular ones seems to be "Middle School Blues."
"Cindy sorts out the confusion of beginning seventh grade - changing
classes, competing for limited chairs in the band's saxophone section,
missing last year's friends and noticing possible new ones - by
writing a rule book for middle school. She summarizes each experience
in a maxim for her survival manual, e.g., don't laugh at funerals;
choose enemies carefully; friends are changeable. Cindy exhibits
typical adolescent behavior secrecy, bruised emotions and mood swings
in an eventful year that culminates in a search for a friend who has
run away from home because his father expects him to excel at sports
when he prefers to work with computers. Southern phrases, like sass,
fussing and hissy fit, reinforce the Virginia setting."
Dance of Death, Dell (New York City), 1984.
Middle School Blues, Houghton (Boston), 1986.
Listen for Rachel, Margaret K. McElderry, 1986.
Secret Wishes, Avon (New York City), 1989.
Summer for Secrets, Avon, 1989.
A Haunting in Williamsburg, Avon Camelot, 1990.
The Treasures of Witch Hat Mountain, Avon Camelot, 1992.
Odd One Out, Fawcett Juniper (New York City), 1993.
The Druid Curse, Avon Camelot, 1994.
The Innkeeper's Daughter, Avon Flare, 1996.
Sneeze on Monday, Avon Camelot, 1997.
Contributor to Chicken Soup for Kids' Souls, 1998, Chicken Soup for
the Preteen Soul, 2000, and North Carolina Education Center, Inc.,