Shumsky, Neil Larry

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Neil Larry Shumsky, 76, of Blacksburg, passed away on September 3, 2020. Larry was born in Dayton, Ohio to Charles and Selma (Hurwitz) Shumsky.

He grew up and attended college in Los Angeles, where he met and married Marcia (Green) Shumsky. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of California, Berkeley, Larry began teaching at Virginia Tech, where he specialized in the history of immigration and of American cities. He taught at Virginia Tech until his retirement in 2019, having taught numerous classes and innumerable students, directed graduate studies in the History Department, and served as president of the Faculty Senate.

Larry was a beautiful, clear, and precise writer, who published multiple books and numerous articles, and devoted endless hours to teaching his sons the craft of writing. He had a quick, sardonic wit that was a source of great amusement to everyone who wasn’t its target. He taught himself to love baseball as a child, and passed his devotion to the Dodgers to his sons and granddaughters. The same is true of his love of adventurous travel, which began when he studied in Japan and then traveled around the world in 1965. He and Marcia spent 54 years traveling—“Europe on $5 a Day” in the 1960s; year-long teaching sabbaticals in France and Austria; and individual trips to China and Croatia, Botswana and India, and everywhere in-between. But more than anything, he loved teaching, and everyone around him was more knowledgeable for having known him.

In addition to his wife, Marcia, he is survived by his sons Michael and Eric (and wife Lee); granddaughters Hannah and Abbey; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law and frequent traveling companions Laura Green and Elliott Fishlyn.

The family looks forward to a memorial when people can safely gather in person. If you wish, please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice in his memory. Arrangments by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.

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