Tanya Brady Ditto gracefully departed this life on Thursday July 18 at her home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, surrounded by her three children. She was 84 years old.
Tanya was a graduate of Louisiana State University (Education, '56) and remained an avid LSU football fan for the rest of her life. (Geaux Tigers!) She also obtained a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1989.
Prior to her retirement in 1987, Tanya was a Vice President of the Lafourche Telephone Company in Larose, Louisiana. A native of Thibodaux, Tanya took pride in her Cajun ancestry and authored a book, The Longest Street, about the history and culture of the community that parallels Bayou Lafourche.
Tanya was extremely active in the lives of her family and her community. In addition to lending her creative talents and unwavering support for her children's science fair projects, 4-H competitions, student government elections, band concerts, and fund raisers, Tanya touched the lives of youth across the region as a leader of both the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, and as a founding member of the Bayou Civic Club, which constructed the Larose Civic Center. She also helped found Patrons des Arts, an organization that brought nationally known dance, music, and theatrical productions to the people of southern Lafourche Parish. She was a devoted friend of public schools and public libraries.
A dog lover, breeder, and trainer, she enjoyed dog shows and authored award-winning books on caring for certain dog breeds, including the Shar-Pei, Dalmatian, and English Springer Spaniel.
In later years, Tanya developed a keen interest in genealogical research, through which she earned membership in several ancestry-based organizations, including the Jamestowne Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, Daughters of 1812, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In addition to her interest in genealogy, DAR appealed to Tanya's strong sense of patriotism, which she further demonstrated by volunteering for the USO, routinely working election days for the League of Women Voters, and laying wreathes on military graves each year as part of Wreaths Across America.
Among her family and friends, Tanya is best known as “the hostess with the mostess.” She loved to cook for large groups, was an expert party planner, and generously opened her home for meetings and social gatherings of all kinds.
Tanya was preceded in death by her husband William H. Ditto, mother Irene Landry Brady, father John Ansel Brady, Sr., and brother John Brady, Jr. She is survived by her brother James Patrick Brady, three children—Steven Christopher Ditto, Sr. and his wife Betsy of Austin, Texas; Diana Ditto Toups and her husband Vincent of Gulf Breeze, Florida; and Susan Ditto and her partner John Beauchamp of Washington, D.C.—5 grandchildren: Meghan Harrod, Chris Ditto (Zulfiya), Kelsey Ditto, Brian Toups (Jessie), and Jay Toups (Kassidy), 2 great-grand children (Lillian and Mark), and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday 7/22 at St. Michael's Basilica, 19 N. Palafox Street, Pensacola Florida. Private visitation for family will begin at 9:00 a.m., followed by public visitation shortly thereafter. She will be interred, beside her late husband, in East Fork, Mississippi, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, mourners are encouraged to consider making a gift to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the Kate Duncan Smith DAR School.