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Beloved Ashburn teacher dies after decades of service

Lorie B. Terry, who spent several decades as an elementary school teacher, died June 29 at her home in Ashburn. She was 66.

Originally from Detroit, Terry spent her life moving around the country and globe. She graduated high school in California and moved to Utah for college.

It was in Utah she met her husband, Donald M. Terry, whom she married. The couple moved to the D.C. area for his career with the federal government. The family moved around the world to Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium; Bern, Switzerland; Port-au Prince, Haiti; Paris; and Leesburg. The family settled in Ashburn in 2000.

The late Lorie Terry

While traveling, Terry spread knowledge wherever she went by teaching children. She taught at schools in Antwerp, Port-au-Prince, and Paris, and finally retired from Loudoun County Public Schools in 2016. A popular and effective teacher at Hillside Elementary, according to those who knew her, Terry made a positive impact on hundreds of children.

Lisa Svendsen, a Loudoun mother who had all three of her children taught by Terry, said in a Facebook post Terry was a “teacher’s teacher.”

“She never 'taught to the test,' but all of my kids did get a perfect score on their Virginia History SOLs,” said Svendsen. “Even though all three of my children are different, she was the best teacher for all of them. One of those people you will remember for the rest of your life as having an impact.”

Terry didn’t only serve people through her teaching, but also through her faith. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in high school, she served a mission for her church in Uruguay, and continued to do volunteer work for her church over the years, eventually serving as an ordinance worker in the Washington D.C. Temple during the last eight years of her life. She also had a passion for Jane Austen novels, Brigham Young University football and Virginia history, according to her obituary.

In addition to her husband, Terry is survived by four children: David Terry (Talia) of Ashburn, Rachel Gwilliam (Burt) of Herndon, Rebekah Stay (Benjamin) of Greensboro, North Carolina, and Sarah Porter (Jayce) of Martinez, Georgia. She is also survived by her brother, Jeffrey Buchholz (Kerrie), of Murrieta, California, her stepmother, Pat Buchholz, and 11 grandchildren.

“My kids and I went back to visit her every single year until her retirement,” Svendsen said. “I can't possibly thank her enough for everything she gave to my children.”

The funeral is open to the public, according to a family member. The Terry family will receive friends between 9 and 10 a.m. July 8 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 21015 Claiborne Parkway in Ashburn, where funeral services will immediately follow at 10 a.m.


Mrs. Terry taught at Hillside Elementary School. My children had her for 4th grade. She loved Virginia history and her passion was evident to the students. She was a demanding teacher— demanding in a way that pushed the students to become better and stronger in their studies.

My daughter—3rd grade at the time—had heard all sorts of rumors about how tough she was with homework assignments, class work and class participation. She was reluctant to start 4th grade but after a few weeks she realized that Mrs. Terry was great because she expected a lot from her students and she became my daughter’s favorite teacher.

She had a large impact on her 4th graders—Many students would return to Hillside to visit her while in High School or back from College. To repeat: her students would visit her 10+ years after she taught them.

She was called home too early.

Epitome of an Educator….

what school did she teach at in ashburn?

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