Dorcas Hardy Obituary

Dorcas R. Hardy
Dorcas R. Hardy

July 18, 1946 - November 28, 2019
Born in Newark, New Jersey
Resided in Spotsylvania, Virginia


Dorcas R. Hardy passed away on November 28th, 2019, Thanksgiving Day, at her Spotsylvania, Va. home after a long illness. She was 73.

She was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 18, 1946, to the late C. Colburn and Ruth Hardy. She was a loving wife, loyal friend, distinguished government official, and role model and mentor to many throughout her life.

Dorcas received her undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and obtained her Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Deeply committed to public service, her career began as a legislative assistant to former N.J. Senator Clifford Case. She then went to California where she was appointed Assistant Secretary for Health by Governor Ronald Reagan. Following her state service, Dorcas served as Associate Director of the Center for Health Services Research at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine.

In 1981, Dorcas moved to Washington, D.C. to serve President Ronald Reagan as Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her unwavering professionalism and sense of mission were rewarded by President Reagan as he nominated Dorcas to become the first woman Commissioner of the Social Security Administration; a position in which she served honorably from 1986-1989. Following her tenure as Commissioner, she continued her dedication to improving Social Security by serving on the Social Security Advisory Board, a position she held until her health began to deteriorate several years ago.

Among her many other accomplishments, Dorcas served as the Chair of President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Legal Equity for Women; Executive Director of the Health Services Industry Committee with the Cost of Living Council in Washington; and Co-Chair of the White House Conference on Aging. She was also a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia, for eight years.

For many years Dorcas was a proud and very active member of the Girl Scouts of America. Her efforts and support were recognized when the GSA awarded her a lifetime membership. She also was a former board member and volunteer for the Olave-Baden-Powel Society, an organization dedicated to enabling young girls and women to develop their full potential and become responsible citizens of the world.

Over the course of her career, Dorcas received countless awards and citations. These include the U.S. Surgeon General’s Recognition for Distinguished Service, Public Service Award from the Council of Jewish Federations, Public Service Award (“Leader and Partner in Excellence for Our Nation’s Children”) from the state of Illinois, Public Service Award from the National Committee for Adoption, National Humanitarian Award from the National Coalition of Hispanic Mental Health and Human Service Organizations, Tomas Rivera Award from National Hispanic University, Recognition from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Outstanding Advocacy Award from Court Appointed Special Advocates, Service Award from One Church/One Child, Public Service Award from Mutual of Omaha, Distinguished Alumna Award from Pepperdine University, Member, The Board of Visitors University of Mary Washington Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who.

Dorcas is survived her husband, Samuel V. Spagnolo, M.D., and her step-children Samuel J. Spagnolo and wife Beverly, Brad V. Spagnolo, M.D. and wife Aimee, Greg W. Spagnolo and wife Sandy, and her dear cousins Laurent A. Daloz, Connie Daloz, Charles Daloz, and Marjorie H. (Hart) Anderson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Eagle Island (, a summer camp for girls in the Adirondack Mountains which was owned for decades by her beloved Girl Scouts, and currently owned and operated by an independent group of former Girl Scouts.

A graveside ceremony will be held on December 12, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, Virginia.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the Washington National Cathedral in the Choir Chapel with a reception to be held immediately following in the Bethlehem Chapel.




Graveside Service
Quantico National Cemetery
18424 Joplin Road
Triangle, VA US
Thursday, December 12, 2019
1:00 PM
Memorial Service
Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC US 20016
Thursday, January 16, 2020
11:00 AM

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