Rep. Lou Shurtliff dies after 3-week battle with pneumonia

Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff, D-Ogden. | Utah Legislature

OGDEN — Rep. LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff, D-Ogden, died Wednesday night after a three-week battle with pneumonia.

Weber County’s lone Democrat, Shurtliff, who was just reelected to represent House District 10, has been hospitalized for three weeks after becoming sick on Dec. 6. Family members told the media she’d tested negative for COVID-19 “and several other viruses.”

“Although they have not identified the cause of the pneumonia or her illness, we are thrilled that she is doing so well and are hopeful about her ongoing recovery,” her family said in a statement on Dec. 10. “Lou continues to fight this illness with the same tenacity she uses to fight for her family and community.”

Friend and fellow lawmaker Patrice Arent mourned Shurtliff, 85, in a tweet about 10:17 p.m.

“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of my dear friend Rep Lou Shurtliff,” Arent wrote. “She was a truly effective legislator who worked so hard to represent her constituents. She was respected by people on both sides of the aisle. She was also an extraordinary teacher.

Shurtliff served in the Utah House from 1999 to 2008 before being elected to represent District 10, which covers southern Ogden and Washington Terrace, in 2018. She was also a teacher at Ogden High for many years.

In the Dec. 10 statement, Shurtliff’s family thanked her doctors for “their devoted care and compassionate service to both Lou and our family during this difficult time.”

The last update on Rep. Shurtliff’s Facebook page was, “Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. We continue to be amazed by how many people have reached out in support.

“There are no major changes to report at this time. She has had good days with encouraging improvement, as well as challenging days with concerning set backs. Lou is still on the ventilator and in the ICU in stable, but critical condition. Doctors are primarily focusing on working to get her off the vent and sedation. There are still no clear answers as to what caused Lou’s illness, but we remain confident in her team and the care she is receiving. Their tireless efforts in her behalf are deeply appreciated by our entire family.”

Amy Donaldson

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