Vi Walker

Viola Walker turns 100

We had good parents. I must have done something right.”
Viola “Vi” Walker is reaching her 100th birthday Feb. 19.
An open house to celebrate this special birthday is being held in the Silverleaf Assisted Living Center in Philip, Sunday, Feb. 18, starting at 2:00 p.m.
“I attribute my long life to good ol’ Irish heritage,” said Vi. “Both my parents were in good health. We were lucky.”
Originally from Armour, Vi is the second youngest of nine siblings – eight sisters and one brother. Most of them lived to be in their 90s.
Vi Connor married Ronald “Ron” Walker, a veteran who was raised near Lake Andes. Asked about her early married life, Vi grinned broadly yet said, “Just skip that part, I don’t remember.”
After spending some years in Sioux Falls, Vi and Ron moved to Rapid City, where Vi has spent most of her life. She took a Civil Service examination and landed a job as a civilian worker in base supply at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
“Each plane had its own file and we had to check each had its own parts,” recalled Vi. There for 29 years, she worked her way up, eventually retiring in the early 1980s as supervisor.
Before and since her retirement, she has done a little traveling, some in an RV she and Ron owned. Vi recalls visiting California, Arizona and Hawaii, among other places. Some of the trips were when their son, Gary, was still growing up.
Gary graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City in 1980. His wife, Diane, is a nurse. They still live in Rapid City. Through them, Vi has three grandchildren.
“When you wait to have a kid (Don and Vi) and your kids (Gary and her) wait to have kids, and they wait to have their kids, great grandchildren are a little ways off,” said Diane. All three of Vi’s grandchildren are now in their late 20s.
Vi and Ron, Gary and Diane, and the three grandchildren visited Philip very frequently. Though they moved out of the area for awhile, all are now back. Ariel and Josh are living in Rapid City, while Brad is in Philip.
“We all kind of went far away, and we have all moved back,” said Diane about her and Gary and the three kids. She added that they, and almost everyone else, still call Viola “Grandma Vi.”
During her last few years in Rapid City, Vi lived next door to Philip’s Vivian Hansen. “Had a great time.” In Philip for the past three years, Vi gets out and about whenever she wishes. She stated that whe walks to the hospital to have blood drawn.
Any advice Vi could give younger people starts out with, “Get a job!”
“I’ve had a good life. I can’t kick on that at all,” said Vi. “I don’t have any regrets; I’ve had a good life. We had good parents. I must have done something right.”
“That’s about it. I guess I could have married a millionaire to spend his money, but I don’t know what for. I’m satisfied with this life,” said Vi.
Last year’s 99th birthday party, which was also held at the Silverleaf, saw so many people stop in. For next year’s party, when she turns 101, Vi said, “I’ll figure that out when it comes around.”    

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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