The Springfield community is mourning the loss of Virginia Fry, a member of the Missouri State University Board of Governors and partner and Husch Blackwell.

Virginia Fry passed away Sunday, November 18, following a sudden and unexpected illness.

Fry joined the Husch Blackwell firm in 1998 as a partner. She served as Office Managing Partner in Springfield from 2008 until 2015 and was a vital, contributing member of the Executive Board.

“She was a person of great business judgment and never hesitated to share her perspective with the group,” said Husch Blackwell Chairman Greg Smith and Chief Executive Paul Eberle in a joint statement.  “People listened when she spoke because they knew her views were informed by rich experience, intelligence and integrity.”

Virginia Fry served on Missouri State University’s Board of Governors from 2013 until her death. She was vice chair during the first few months of 2017 and became board chair mid-year in 2017 through the end of 2017.

Fry began her law practice in 1980 as one of the first female attorneys in the southwest Missouri region.

She won numerous awards and honors during her 38-year career. In 2010, she was awarded the Distinguished Attorney Award by the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association – the first and only female attorney to be honored with such award – and in 2015, she was honored as Woman of the Year by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

She was listed in the Best Lawyers in America directory many times and was ranked AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. In September, Virginia was named by the Springfield Business Journal as the Legacy Adviser in its 2018 Trusted Adviser class.

Fry was a member of the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences & Education group, and was an experienced litigator in federal and state courts.

She represented public and private higher education institutions, as well as public school districts. She regularly advised boards of education, trustees and administrators on a variety of legal matters involving employee hiring, student rights and discipline, civil rights and constitutional matters.

She served as Chair and a member of the board of directors for numerous professional, civic and charitable organizations. In 2017, she was elected as Chair of the Missouri State University Board of Governors. She is survived by her husband, attorney John Pratt, and two children, Brennan and Jordan.