Norma Lang Steuerle
Hometown: Alexandria, Va., USA
Occupation: Clinical psychologist
Location: Passenger, American Flight 77, Pentagon
"My wife had a great taste for color, but blue was always her favorite. You knew if she saw a bunch of pretty objects, she would be attracted to the blue ones like a magnet. We also gave out blue star flowers at the funeral, which people planted and saw bloom in the spring. Blue is the color for rejuvenation. After an incident like this, it is hard at times to know what hope to have for oneself, but, as for humankind, I cannot help but be hopeful when I see the color blue and think how my wife's goodness is rejuvenated in the kind deeds of so many friends and strangers." --Gene Steuerle, husband
Norma Lang Steuerle, 54, loved serving the community through her job as a clinical psychologist and through her church, but she also loved to travel.
When her husband, C. Eugene Steuerle, signed up recently to teach a seminar in Singapore and her daughter Kristin, 28, was shipped to Okinawa as a Navy doctor, the Alexandria resident found herself with an opportunity to travel and catch up with family.
"She was so excited about going," said her daughter Lynne, 24, an actuarial consultant. On Tuesday, Steuerle was flying to Japan to rendezvous with her family and then visit Thailand. The first leg of her flight was American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles to Los Angeles.
Born in Pittsburgh, Steuerle was valedictorian of her class at Carnegie Mellon University and held a master's degree from Temple University and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.
She met her husband at the University of Dayton before she transferred to Carnegie Mellon. The two were married after Eugene Steuerle returned from service in Vietnam. He became a prominent national tax and economic policy expert and is now a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.
The vivacious, petite woman was known for her interest in community service, including through the Blessed Sacrament Catholic community and her daughters' schools. The couple moved to Alexandria after graduate school, when she was hired at Children's Hospital and her husband took a government job.
She practiced in Old Town Alexandria for many years before opening an office in Annandale.
She had a "fabulous sense of humor," said Carolyn Lawlor, a teacher and school director. Lawlor said she would call Steuerle for advice when a young student was having a problem. "I always thought of her as a very wise woman," Lawlor said. "She had that extraordinary ability, when a person walked into her space, to make them feel immediately comfortable, like an old friend."
-- Sandra Fleishman
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com
The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.
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