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Susan Rissler Sheely, 74, of Kabletown, W.Va., died September 26 from complications of lupus, with which she had struggled for nearly 20 years.

Born in 1947 at the old Charles Town Hospital on Congress St. in Charles Town, Susan was the daughter of the late Lewis Shaull Rissler and Kathleen Johnson Rissler. After graduating from Charles Town High School in 1965, she attended Potomac State College and then began a decades-long career working for the federal government. Her final position was Director of Travel Management for the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va.  

In 1975, she married Robert E. Sheely of Martinsburg and soon thereafter moved to Herndon, Va., where they lived many years. In 2003, after Susan retired, they moved back to Jefferson County – to the Kabletown area that she so loved because of its beauty, history, and her deep family roots. Her family—the Risslers and Kables—had settled and lived in the area for nearly 200 years.

Soon after returning to the county, Susan became involved in volunteer work—serving several years on the Old Opera House Board of Directors and as chair of the annual fundraising dinner and auction. She volunteered at the Jefferson County Museum for a decade, helping in many capacities, particularly in the meticulous preservation of 19th century documents. Concerned about the encroachment of poorly regulated housing developments into rural areas of the county, she became an activist on land use issues.

With her generous spirit, sunny outlook, and warm and friendly nature, Susan made a friend of everyone she met. She was widely respected and deeply loved. Her death leaves a large void in her family and community.

Susan is survived by her husband of 46 years, who was a devoted caregiver especially as her health declined markedly in recent years; sister Patricia Rissler and brother-in-law James Rogers, Kabletown; sister Jane Rissler, Kabletown; and three stepchildren and their spouses—Craig and Tina Sheely, Hetzles, Germany; Carolyn Sheely and Don Griffith, Falling Waters, W.Va.; and Keith and Jennifer Sheely, Rolla, Mo. Also surviving are extended family members, many friends, three beloved cats, and her life-long special friend, Bobbi Hough Roper.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a stepson, Michael Sheely.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Jefferson County Museum Fund for the Future, 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town, WV 25414. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are by the Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home, Charles Town. Please sign the online guestbook and view her obituary.

To plant a tree in memory of Susan Sheely as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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