- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Family and friends of Leslie Sherman yesterday remembered her for her two passions: running and history.

The 20-year-old Virginia Tech sophomore, described as a giving and joyful person, was killed in her French class April 16 when a gunman opened fire at the school’s Norris Hall.

Hundreds of mourners yesterday attended her funeral at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria.

“In many ways, she accomplished more in her 20 years than most of us do in a lifetime,” said the Rev. Robert Laha Jr., who led the solemn, simple service.

Miss Sherman “looked beyond herself to the needs of others,” he said.

Her relatives and friends said Miss Sherman donated her hair to Locks of Love, regularly gave blood and was an organ donor. They said she was known as a caring friend. She spent last Thanksgiving in New Orleans, building houses for people who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina.

“She did these things and others like them quietly, out of the limelight,” Mr. Laha said.

After the service, a long procession accompanied the family to Arlington National Cemetery, where Miss Sherman was buried. Her mother is a veteran and her father is in the military Reserve, a cemetery spokesman said.

At the grave site, six Navy sailors in uniform placed her casket beside an arrangement of orange and maroon flowers in the shape of the Virginia Tech logo.

Her sister, Lisa Sherman, wiped tears from her face as Mr. Laha and the Rev. Ann E. Herlin said a prayer and read Scripture in a brief and quiet service.

Jennifer Fang, 20, took a history class with Miss Sherman at West Springfield High School, where they both graduated in 2005. She said it was a sad reunion and a jarring reality for old classmates.

“She’s gone; she’s not coming back anymore,” Miss Fang said. “I just wish that I could have had a chance to see her before today.”

Miss Sherman’s passion for running was well known among her friends. At West Springfield, she ran on the track and cross-country teams and encouraged struggling members of the team, former teammates said.

In October, she finished the prestigious Marine Corps Marathon in just over four hours.

While in high school, Miss Sherman worked as an intern at the nearby Frying Pan Farm Park, teaching visitors about its social history as part of a history class.

It was in that class that she learned about the church where her funeral was held.

Brian Lees, who lived in Springfield before moving to Texas for college, was in the history class with Miss Sherman and remembered how much fun she was when they interned together at the farm. He laughed as he remembered how he and Miss Sherman nicknamed a cow after one of their professors.

“She was just a joy to be around, always happy,” Mr. Lees said outside the church. He wanted people to remember his friend “for her spirit, her joyful nature.”

She was also known for her love of history, friends said. She was co-president of the History Honor Society at West Springfield, and at Virginia Tech she was a double-major in history and international studies.

She was in the university honors program and had already attained enough credit hours to be considered a junior, even though she was only in her second year of classes. She studied Russian and looked forward to studying in Russia next year.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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