Shirley N. Tarter was born October 6, 1935 to the late Hayes and Mabel Stokes in Gloucester, Virginia, and was the eldest of their two children. She entered into eternal rest on July 27, 2020, surrounded by her devoted daughter and grand-daughter.
Shirley graduated from the 1952 Class of Gloucester Training School and was the salutatorian of her class. From there, she continued her education and graduated from Morgan State University in 1956 with a Bachelors degree in Sociology.
After finishing college, she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she met and married Donald Tarter (who recently preceded her in death), and from this loving union they were blessed with one beautiful daughter, Lisa Tarter.
Shirley was employed by the City of Philadelphia for over thirty years and worked for many departments such as the Department of Public Welfare, Department of Human Services-Court System Juvenile Probation and the Department of Human Services-Youth Conservation before retiring from the Home Finding Unit. She was a tireless advocate for the children for which the department was responsible, and she was terribly concerned about the foster homes where children would be residing. Her passion for the safety and welfare of children led her to go beyond the call duty to ensure the homes were in compliance with City, State and Federal mandates, policies, regulations and laws.
Shirley had a love for fashion and she immensely enjoyed making clothing for herself and others. Her exquisite precision, attention to detail, and professionalism was evident in the clothing she made. She was avid collector of vintage jewelry, purses and collectibles which she would sell under the business name “Memories of the Past.” She had an affinity for theatre and maintained a seasonal pass to the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. She also loved to travel and explored many countries and continents with her longtime travel companions, Dorothy and June. Her explorations included Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
Shirley was an active member of Salem Baptist Church for many years, participating with the Arts and Heritage Ministry, Chapel Choir Parents group and Youth Fellowship Parents group. In 2010, she joined the fellowship of St. Paul Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan. She was a faithful worshiper and participated in the Chosen 300 Ministry which she thoroughly enjoyed, as well as being an active participant with feeding the homeless where she was known for her “tasty” salads.
She leaves to cherish her precious memories: a devoted daughter, Lisa Tarter; granddaughter, Sacajawea Tarter; stepson, Donald Tarter, Jr; one sister, Joyce Braxton; one Aunt, Christine Boyd; beloved nieces, nephews and cousins, along with a host of longtime close friends to mourn her passing, as well as her beloved cat, Smoky.
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