On June 4, 2018, Lucy M. Sotar, a longtime resident of Arlington, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family. She was 77 years old.
She was born Lucy Anne Conners on April 1, 1941, in Clearwater, Florida to Bernard and Gratia Conners. After graduating high school, Lucy earned a BA in Psychology from McDaniel College in 1962. She later also earned an MA in English from the Pennsylvania State University in 1966.
Lucy was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal from 1964-1965. There she taught English and Zoology at Amrit Science College. She made many lifelong friends in the Peace Corps. She said that year in Nepal changed her whole life - “I was a Republican before Nepal, but that changed fast; I worked for Democratic congressmen in Olympia, Washington and on the Hill. I hated politics and am now a political junkie. I was Episcopalian, but was captured by Buddhism.”
When she returned home, she worked as an editor and writer for the University of Washington and the AFL-CIO, as well as other organizations. She married Patrick McEligot in 1967. They had two children together, Tara Gratia in 1969 and Sean Patrick in 1971. They lived in Olympia, Washington for the beginning of their marriage, but in 1972 they moved to the Washington, D.C. area. She and Patrick later divorced.
After taking a break to be home with her young children, she began a career in the federal government, first working at the U.S. Department of Education as a Management Training Specialist beginning in 1979. In 1985 she became the Director of Training at the U.S. Agency for International Development and in that capacity was able to travel to Eastern Europe, Russia, El Salvador, Africa, and Egypt. She said about those travels: “Working with people from all those countries reinforced my belief that we are all alike and yet each of is is a unique individual.”
While working at the Dept. of Education, Lucy met Stephen L. Sotar, and they were married in 1982 until his death on December 31, 2007. Lucy and Steve enjoyed traveling and entertaining together, as well as spending time with family.
After taking early retirement in 1998, she did some consulting in Russia and the U.S., and taught Human Resources at Marymount University. She also volunteered as a mentor in Arlington County schools. She loved the children she worked with, many of whom were recent immigrants. She also enjoyed volunteering on the campaigns of Democratic candidates.
Lucy enjoyed traveling, reading mystery novels, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She also loved her many friends, and she often hosted dinner parties where she would cook a complete, delicious Nepalese meal for her guests.
She is survived by her daughter Tara Dowell (Chris) and son Sean McEligot; as well as seven grandchildren: Cody and Ashley Unger; Trent, Skylar, and Sydney Dowell; and Willow and Jasper McEligot. She is predeceased by her husband, Stephen L. Sotar.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Friends of Nepal, http://www.friendsofnepal.com/.