Shirley M. Taradash

Honored by:Dee Ann Rexroat
Brick location:D:27  map

Born Shirley May Graessle in Waukon, Iowa, Oct. 15, 1935; resides in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Shirley Taradash is part of a generation of women that pressed at society's boundaries and opened new channels for their daughters. Suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt first cleared that path to empower American women. Women of my mother's era made the first mass inroads into the world beyond the home.

Without the benefit of a role model or a college degree, my Mom has become a successful professional woman. And yet, home, family and child rearing are important to her. She attended Iowa State University until her 1955 marriage, then quit to put her husband through college and begin rearing a family. She stayed at home with her two children for 11 years until her husband entered graduate school and was once again needed to help support the family. Without a college degree or work experience she began working in sales, and became the family’s main wage-earner.

When the marriage ended five years later, she asked for a percentage of Dad's earnings over several years since she helped put him through college. In a landmark Iowa case, she set a precedent for other women who sacrificed for a career from which they would not fully benefit.

Not long after entering the workforce, Mom found her niche in real estate. She passed tests to become a broker and at the peak of her career was recognized as within the top one-half of one percent of Realtors nationally in gross earnings and production. She has partnered for many years with her husband, Sherwin Taradash, and was honored by Re/Max Results Realtors with the Platinum Award in 1995. Since 2012 they have worked for Michael Saunders & Company Realtors in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Shirley Taradash is a self-made professional woman. She also is a success at home as a partner and wife, mother and confidant, and grandmother. She is a positive, upbeat person with wide interests that extend from golf and travel to serving on the board of directors of groups such as the Women's Auxiliary of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Sarasota Orchestra Association Board. She is a member of Harvest United Methodist Church, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Mom set an excellent example for me in a time of transition for girls and women. She made me feel comfortable in the home but also encouraged me to finish college and become the first woman in our family to complete an advanced degree. In her own small way she built a bridge between home and career and showed her daughter that "woman's work" and career work are both important. For that I am grateful to her.

Submitted on 6/1/95; updated 1/4/2014