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Kennewick's VaDell Cyr turns 100 on July 8

In 1913, the year VaDell Cyr of Kennewick was born, Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as the 28th president, income taxes were signed into law and a record-setting 134 degrees was recorded in Death Valley.

On July 7, she'll celebrate her 100th birthday with family, friends and the other residents of Charbonneau Retirement Living with a luau-themed party. Her actual birthday is July 8.

To meet Cyr, you'd never guess her age. She's sure on her feet, her back is straight, her shoulders square. Her eyes are clear, her hearing sharp and her voice strong.

"If we challenged someone to pick out the 100-year-old lady from everyone here at Charbonneau, she'd be one of the last they'd pick," said Joe Clark, community manager at retirement home.

"VaDell only looks about 70. Nobody knows how or why she looks and acts like someone 20, 30 years younger," he said.

When asked how she manages to stave off the effects of old age, Cyr simply shakes her head.

"No secrets," she said.

She has one daughter, Vicki Smith of Richland, and a grandson, Jaison Smith of New York City. Both will be attending the party, along with several former neighbors from Eugene, Ore.

Cyr moved to the Tri-Cities 18 years ago, shortly after her husband of nearly 60 years, Raymond, died.

"I wanted to be closer to my family," she said, though she still pines for her home in Eugene, a place she lived for nearly 20 years.

"I loved that house, I loved my neighbors, and I really do miss my garden," she said passing around photos of her former home.

Cyr was born in Hampshire, Ill., and moved with her family to Elgin, Ill., when she was 5. She was 20 when she married Raymond in June 1933.

During World War II, while he served in the Army, she worked at a grocery store in the Hampshire-Elgin area.

"It was a good place to work during the war when things were rationed. We could always get what we needed," she said, remembering that coffee was 39 cents a pound in those days. She also worked as a secretary and in the financial office of JCPenney in Illinois. After her daughter was born, Cyr became a stay-at-home mom.

"I've had a pretty uneventful life," Cyr said.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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