Funeral held Monday for diplomat, award-winning author killed in Grove Ave. crash

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The award-winning author and American diplomat killed last week in a deadly crash in Richmond will be laid to rest today.

A funeral service is planned for Elizabeth Pryor at 4 p.m. Monday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

64-year-old Pryor was killed last Monday when a speeding SUV slammed into her car on Grove Avenue. She died on impact.

Pryor had worked as a senior diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service as well as teaching at UR, according to the university. She was also an award-winning historian. Pryor is the author of several books on the 19th century, including Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through his Private Letters, which won numerous prizes, including the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the Jefferson Davis Award.

8News spoke with the victim’s loved ones about their loss at a court hearing for the man that may be to blame for the crash.

“She never did anything half heartedly. She was unbelievably determined and so whatever she did, she did it with gusto and passion and an incredible fighting will. When she was a little girl, she was in the Girl Scouts and she was insistent that she was going to earn every single Girl Scout badge — and she did,” said Dr. Beverly Louise Brown, Pryor’s sister. “Words will not say how I’ll miss my sister.”

“She loved this city. She found her happiest years living among the good folk of Richmond,” said Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, a friend and former colleague of Pryor. “I think it’s hard not to wish we could all wake up and redo Monday.”

Ambassador Stephenson described herself as Pryor’s chosen personal representative.

“It was such an honor to play this role,” she said. “I knew her as one of our country’s most accomplished diplomats.”

Ambassador Stephenson says the two worked together for years to bed down a peace agreement.

“She was one of the first Americans to go in after the Siege of Sarajevo was lifted and lived under conditions of being cold and hungry but persevered,” she said. “I saw her sway audiences in all kinds of languages — English, Spanish, French, German. This is one remarkable human being that we lost.”

32-year-old Robert Stevens Gentil was arraigned Friday on a felony involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to the accident. At Friday’s court hearing, Gentil’s attorney said that the suspect suffers from a mental illness and that may be to blame for the crash. Gentil’s bail was set at $50,000 with the conditions that he get immediate medical help, wear an electronic monitoring device and live with his parents.

Gentil will be back in court on June 22.

Stay with 8News for the latest on this developing story.

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