To say that Virginia Tardy will be missed at St. Cecilia Parish would be an understatement.
Since Tardy's death Tuesday after an auto accident on Interstate 680, the parish where Tardy was active has had “so many calls,” said Beth Klug, development director.
“There's such an outpouring of heartfelt loss,” Klug said.
Tardy, 57, touched many lives.
The Omaha real estate agent and her husband, Jim Tardy, a deacon at St. Cecilia, led an adult education program about the Roman Catholic faith.
Virginia Tardy, Klug said, brought to mind an inspirational saying: “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
“She's lit hundreds of other candles,” Klug said.
Debbie Peffer said her life was one Tardy touched.
Peffer went through the education program after deciding to become Catholic, which she did in 2010. Her husband, Tim, is Catholic and wanted to raise their son in the faith. Debbie Peffer wanted to be able to answer his questions.
“I got so much more out of it,” she said. “I got a relationship with God that I thought I had, but it certainly wasn't as deep.”
The Tardys, she said, taught her to find a quiet time to pray every day. It opened her eyes to the wonders around her. And she knows she's not the only one the couple touched through the program.
“I'll be forever grateful to her and Jim for that,” she said.
The Tardys, in fact, asked the Peffers to stay on as team members.
Tim Peffer, a restaurateur, said their role was mainly in the kitchen. Virginia Tardy made sure dinner was prepared for each weekly meeting of the program, so people could first check in at home or arrive from work knowing a meal would be waiting. Eating together also added to the fellowship. She also was a bit of a perfectionist.
Her attention to detail came into play at work, said Eileen Schultz, a fellow agent with Prudential Ambassador in Omaha. Their first deal together got complicated. “She just hung in there,” Schultz said. “She works very hard.”
Debbie Peffer said Virginia Tardy believed in tradition. One was serving pancakes and leftover gravy the day after Thanksgiving.
“She loved tradition and she loved her family so much,” Peffer said.
Besides her husband, Tardy is survived by the couple's son, James Tardy, and daughter, Eleanore Shrader, both of Omaha; and two grandchildren, with a third due soon.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Monday at St. Cecelia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St.
The rosary is set for Sunday at the cathedral at 3 p.m.
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