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10:50 AM Tue, Nov. 13th

Vi Martin celebrates 90th birthday with family and friends in Cordes

Longtime friends Rita O'Connell and Viola Martin catch up on their news at Vi's 90th birthday party at Cordes Lakes on Friday.<br>
Big Bug News/Pat Williamson

Longtime friends Rita O'Connell and Viola Martin catch up on their news at Vi's 90th birthday party at Cordes Lakes on Friday.<br> Big Bug News/Pat Williamson

On Friday, July 3, Vi Martin returned to Cordes Lakes, where she had lived for about the past 30 years, to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Most of Vi's family was in attendance, including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Vi came to Cordes Lakes in 1977 and started selling real estate. During her time in Cordes Lakes both she and husband, Charles (Buzz), served as President of the Cordes Lakes Community Association.

Vi was instrumental in getting a medical center established at the building most people in Cordes know as the "old library" on the hill. It was run with Physicians Assistant Criss Monk in attendance, and under the auspices of Phoenix Baptist Hospital.

Vi's scrapbook also had pictures of the buffalo and llama, but some remembered an elephant and donkey also at the old "zoo" by the lake.

Rita O'Connell was at the party - those two can't be separated. They met in 1942, when both were young mothers. They did many things together and both family's children grew up together.

Then in 1977 Vi and Buzz arrived in Cordes Lakes. About three years later, when Rita had property in Kingman, Vi asked if she would like a land swap so she could move to Cordes Lakes. And she did. So the friends were together again.

And that was just the beginning of what those two ladies did when they put their heads together. One was establishing Cordes Lakes Daze. They were involved in Ladies Luncheons, breakfasts, and many other fundraising events to benefit CLCA. One that is particularly remembered was the Lavender and Lace theme, where dolls were dressed in costumes of lavender and lace, then sold as a fundraiser. Vi said the dolls were beautiful and the one she wanted went to someone else.

Buzz spearheaded the funding and building of the current community kitchen. The couple was also involved in keeping the lake clean and watching the flow of water.

Rita received a quilt about 10 years ago that was made of squares created by various friends. Each friend customized their square to their family, then all of the squares were gathered and put together. Rita brought the quilt for the party stating that since their two lives were so intertwined, the quilt represented Vi as much as herself.

So what happened to separate these ladies? Rita, 91 years of age, had cancer and moved to be near her daughter in Colorado so she would have the help she needed. And Vi developed macular degeneration and couldn't see to drive. Although son, Harold, still lives in the area, Vi moved to Mesa to live with Janatha, so she is near doctors.

The card games at Vi's party Friday never got started - people were too busy catching up on the news. The potluck was spectacular and the cake was both white and chocolate, of course with ice cream on the side.

When Vi was asked about making 100, she said she didn't think so, but Rita said, "Of course we will." And Vi responded with a simple, "oh, okay."

So watch this space in 10 years for the 100th birthday celebration.