Shirley Arlene Tardif, Federal Grants Manager

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Shirley Arlene Tardif, 91, who lived most of the past two decades in Long Neck, died Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, in Okatie, South Carolina. She suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Shirley moved to Long Neck in 2002 from the Washington, D.C. suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. She retired in 1990 from her position as Grants Manager for the US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington.

She was born Shirley A. Dunahoo on September 1, 1930 in Mason City, Iowa to Charles Franklin and Stella J. (Evans) Dunahoo. She graduated from Manly High School in Manly, Iowa, in 1948 and headed straight for Washington, where she landed a support job at United States Marine Corps Headquarters. Also in DC, she met Joseph R. “Ray” Tardif, a young Air Force sergeant from Maine. They married in 1951 and eventually had four children: Diane, Philip, Ginette and Roger.

As a military family, the Tardifs periodically uprooted themselves, with postings to Alabama, France (twice), New Hampshire, the Netherlands, and finally back to Washington in 1968. Shirley was still active when they were moving. In New Hampshire, she performed with the West Lebanon Theater Arts Group, and she and Ray would also act as fraternity event chaperones at Dartmouth College, near where they lived in Hanover. Over time, she would serve as a Boy Scout hideout mother and volunteer for Girl Scouts and the Red Cross.

Additionally, as part of the overseas armed forces community, she served as president of the USAF Enlisted Men’s Wives Club and was a chaperone for the American Teen Club, both in Fontainebleau, France. An outing to a teen club in 1965 brought her to a Beatles concert in Paris. Shirley and her husband separated in 1976 and later divorced.

Once in the United States permanently, Shirley immersed herself in her career. She was a caring and valued professional, known for her commendable service as a grant management specialist for the HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Upon her retirement from government, she focused on her own business, distributing health, beauty and home care products. After moving to Long Neck, she coordinated holiday clothing drives for families in need.

Shirley adored her children and grandchildren and cherished all of her lasting friendships. Until her health began to decline, she regularly attended Mary Mother of Peace Catholic Church in Millsboro.

Shirley predeceased her parents; his daughter Diane Tardif Cantor; son Roger Tardif; stepfather Paul Fromhold; sisters Beverly Folkestad and Kathleen Hinds; and his brother Charles Dunahoo. Ray Tardif, her ex-husband, died in 2018.

She is survived by her son Philip of St. Simons Island, Georgia; his daughter Ginette (Daniel) Evans of Bluffton, SC; brother Gordon Dunahoo of Albuquerque, NM; grandsons Neil J. Cantor II of Miami Shores, Florida, and Taylor Evans of Bluffton; granddaughter Amber (Matt) Constable of Mount Vernon, NH; great-granddaughter Natalie Ginette Constable, also of Mont Vernon; and several nieces and nephews.

Shirley’s ashes will be interred alongside those of her son, Roger, at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Wheaton, Maryland, at the family’s convenience. For those who wish, his family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the American Lung Association; Hospice Care of the Lowcountry in Bluffton, SC; or the charity of your choice.

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