Tina contributed in so many ways to our organization. We knew her best as IN Day Coordinator, sharing that position with Dilek. Along with event planning, Tina was a dynamo of activity and organization as she oversaw the arrangements for all the IN Days. She also served as Vice-President for several years. Most of all she was a shining presence of cheerfulness, good will, and reliability. Close associates of hers in IN have shared their tributes below. In November we will offer an opportunity for the broader membership to share their reminiscences and condolences as well.
Marcy, Newsletter editor
“Tina Price Tefft was my sister-in-law but more importantly was my best friend. She was an amazing person—full of compassion, honesty, and a love of life. She was taken from us much too soon. The good news was that she was able to live life to the fullest right up to her last few days. She had been well until a few days before she entered the hospital on September 16th. On the 21st she and the rest of the family found out that she had Stage IV abdominal cancer with kidney failure. Tina was very clear that she did not want any extraordinary means taken to extend her life. She passed peacefully the morning of the 28th. I, and the rest of the family, her husband Mike, daughter Hillary Milam, son David, and her brother (my husband) Bill thank everyone for sharing memories of Tina. She lived a happy, but too short life , and I shall miss her dearly.”
Diane, Tina’s sister-in-law
“I had the honor of working with Tina for a few years as president of International Neighbors. We spent time together at Lakewood Elementary School at the International Nights where she brought her little dolls and items from different countries. Each time we staffed the table, I learned a bit more about her and how sunny her disposition was. Always a smile and so friendly to all of the kids and parents during those evenings. I also had the opportunity of enjoying her successes on every International Day. No one ever had to worry that something might go wrong- she was so organized and ready. I counted on her because I could. At every board meeting, I so enjoyed her calm, upbeat, clever ideas and humor. I will always remember her wonderfully positive attitude and great costumes for each IN event. She was the most special woman that I will miss at every board meeting and every IN Day going forward. She was a singularly amazing woman.”
Andra, President of International Neighbors
“I remember that when Tina agreed to be Vice President of International Neighbors, the condition was that we NEVER would ask her to become President. That, she declared, was way out of her comfort zone! She never needed to be the star, but in her cheerful, optimistic, hard-working way she always got so much done. Her passing leaves such a big hole in International Neighbors and we will miss her terribly.
Looking back through old emails from Tina was a nice way to hear her voice and reflect on everything she has done for us. She was an orderly person in an organization with a tendency to branch off in different directions. Thanks to Tina we now have a system for approving and keeping track of new groups, and the Activities Groups are much better organized on our website. She felt it was important that Neighbors know how we appreciate and use their donations and published a letter with the details. She launched two seamless, very successful Fall Open Houses. And thanks to her color-coded name tag system, we actually know how many attended each one of our events.
Newcomers will remember Tina’s smiling face at the Welcome Table every IN Day. She put together a very thorough IN Day checklist. But when some of us in charge of individual IN Days failed to read that list, she quietly made sure she was the first to arrive and the last to leave. She was kind to everyone, smoothing out any problems that came her way. We never heard her complain about her many surgeries. She preferred to dwell on the positive, like trips around the world with her sister-in-law Diane. At our India IN Day she wore her own sari, with a little help from Nadeera.
The last two emails I have from Tina must be from the hospital, which shows she was still thinking of International Neighbors and “looking forward to being better”. Alas, that was not to be. It’s hard to imagine an IN Day without Tina, but comforting to remember the generous spirit of this wonderful International Neighbor.”
Robyn, Tea Groups Coordinator
“I truly feel that Tina was one of the purest, most realistic and most truthful women I’ve ever met. There was nothing fake about her; her smile was a true reflection of what she felt inwardly. In our reading group she treated people with such ease and almost motherly care and attention so that it was no miracle that she became the favorite of the group. She was our linguist and consultant – the only native speaker of the English language in our group. We turned to her whenever we encountered an unknown word, phrase, or event during our book discussions. She would elaborate and give us a background on the subject matter and at the same time cite an example. She was an exceptionally intellectual and knowledgeable lady, but brushed off our praise with a manner of humbleness that taught humility. I am deeply saddened that she succumbed to her illness prematurely and that one of my brightest stars in the sky of friendship is extinguished.”
Vesna, Ambassador Coordinator
“Several years ago, a slightly different approach was taken in welcoming new English-speaking members to International Neighbors. Tina and I co-hosted two annual get-togethers for our newest members at my home in the evening. Tina always brought a big fruit salad and her ever present smile and enthusiasm! She talked about her experience living in the Philippines, and how she could relate to our members who were newly arrived from other countries. The evening get-togethers were very successful, and Tina and I enjoyed them very much. She always came early and stayed late. My fondest memory is chatting with Tina outside on an unusually warm evening until close to 11:00 after everyone had left. There will be no new member get-togethers this year due to the pandemic, but when they resume, a part of me will be waiting for Tina to arrive….”
Gretchen, Volunteer Coordinator, Nominating Committee