Cynthia Raiford Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Cynthia Shuba Raiford

February 7, 1954 - January 26, 2013
Obituary

Cindy was born in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania, February 7, 1954 when the coal mines and coke ovens were the main industry of the area. She lived in what was formerly "company housing" with her mother, Catherine (Kate) Shuba, and her beloved Uncles John and George. Cindy benefitted from being part of a large extended family of cousins who were truly her aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters and remained close to all even as geography tended to disperse them. Cindy attended St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Lemont Furnace and served as the church organist. Cindy graduated from North Laurel Highlands High School in 1972 and then attended...
Cindy was born in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania, February 7, 1954 when the coal mines and coke ovens were the main industry of the area. She lived in what was formerly "company housing" with her mother, Catherine (Kate) Shuba, and her beloved Uncles John and George. Cindy benefitted from being part of a large extended family of cousins who were truly her aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters and remained close to all even as geography tended to disperse them. Cindy attended St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Lemont Furnace and served as the church organist.

Cindy graduated from North Laurel Highlands High School in 1972 and then attended the Pennsylvania State University Fayette campus for two years (1973-74) before transferring to the main PSU campus at University Park where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1976. Cindy was devoted to her friends and maintained close relationships with many no matter how far away they lived.

Following graduation Cindy moved to the Washington, DC area taking her first full time job working for the Defense Mapping Agency as a brand new US Government employee.

In April, 1981, she moved to the Defense Communications Agency within the Department of Defense as a communications systems test engineer for the Airborne Command Post Program where she excelled and was rapidly promoted to more interesting and demanding positions. Cindy was a key test engineer for what was then called the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACAP) or known in some of the literature as the "doomsday" plane for its anticipated role in a global thermonuclear war. While at DCA, Cindy attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va – a special honor to be selected as a civilian to attend this primarily military officer course.

In 1988 she moved to the Office of the Secretary of Defense to work on programs very important to the entire US Government. During this timeframe, she met her husband-to-be, Bob Raiford, who was an active duty Army officer at the Pentagon.

Cindy married Bob April 21, 1991 at the Fort Myer, Virginia chapel.

Cindy continued her professional development by attending the Federal Executive Institute (FEI), in Charlottesville, Va – another singular honor and incredible educational experience allowing her to develop high level relationships which would be extremely beneficial in her subsequent assignments.

Her career continued to progress as she was named to the Senior Executive Service and designated as the Director, Spectrum Management for the Defense Department in March, 1998. She was the focal point for all matters concerning the use of radio frequencies so vital to command and control of our warfighting forces around the world. She was responsible for protecting and coordinating the military use of all communications from "DC" to "light" meaning the full frequency spectrum available for communications worldwide. Cindy represented the United States of America on these matters in many international forums as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and other regulatory bodies essential to assured communications amongst and between our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen and their allied and coalition partners. She delighted in participating in global conferences and working with experts from both military and civilian government entities for common good. During this timeframe she tirelessly devoted herself to doing the right thing for the men and women on the front lines for our country and earned the absolute respect and gratitude not only of many senior US military and civilians within the entire US Government, but also of our Allies in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the Federal Republic of Germany and so many others too numerous to list here. Cindy's real strength lay in her ability to get people to work together to overcome common obstacles while respecting the needs and political constraints that so often threatened to stall important policies and regulations. She not only enjoyed the highest respect for her efforts, but both she and Bob came to have very dear friends in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK in addition to her counterparts in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

During this time, Cindy earned a Master of Arts in Telecommunications degree from George Washington University while maintaining active roles in various professional organizations including the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA), Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Cindy retired in 2001 and continued to pursue her interests in acting performing yearly in the annual Hexagon Review at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and in several community theater productions. These gave her great joy and played to her strengths as an actress, able to assume any role and make the most of it. She maintained her own consulting company, Raiford Telecommunications International, and provided consulting support to associates and colleagues as the need arose.

Cindy tirelessly supported Bob as he continued in his military career, shared the horrors of 9/11 (Bob was in the Pentagon that morning), and rejoiced in his career advancement both in the US Army and after retirement working for various defense contractors, always at his side, his greatest promoter, cheer leader, and confidant.

Cindy and Bob enjoyed going out to eat and traveling with their dogs, Amos and Sage, and then Ginger (their newest rescue dog adopted following Sage's passing) in their RV attending PSU football games and traveling to Florida when Bob's new work took him there for extended periods. She also enjoyed being on and around the water (never particularly liked being IN the water) and enjoyed boating with Bob and the dogs on the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay in their express cruiser, Blew By U – Cindy's clever name. They had just completed a week long adventure in Aruba and were starting to discuss retirement in Virginia's Northern Neck near the Chesapeake Bay when Cindy was suddenly stricken very ill – a sickness from which she never recovered, going to eternal joy and happiness on January 26, 2013.

She is survived by her husband of almost twenty-two years, her stepson B.J. and his wife, Colleen, and her newest grandson, Maxwell Robert Raiford, all of Springfield or Falls Church, Va.

Viewing will be on Friday, February 1 from 12:00-2:00 pm and from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Services in her honor will be held on Saturday, February 2 at the Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Road, Springfield, Va at 1:00 pm.

Per Cindy's oft-repeated desire, she will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in recognition of her outstanding, devoted service to her country as a Senior Executive of the Department of Defense.

Closing thoughts from Bob:

Cindy died without ever regaining obvious consciousness, but I firmly believe she knew I was at her side and talking to her as much as possible this last month. I read to her the many emails and cards of encouragement we received from our friends from all over the world; she knew you loved her and cared. Her sickness and its effects were greatly saddening, but she bore them with truest grace and dignity, and fought hard to the end to finish God's work for her on this earth.

My truest and very best friend, buddy, partner, sidekick, and the love of my life now watches over me from her vantage point of ultimate happiness and grace.

In lieu of flowers, we request you make a donation in her honor to one of the following which might also touch an area near and dear to you and your family:

American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

Friends of Homeless Animals of Northern Virginia , click on "How you can help"

The American Diabetes Association


The Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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