Violet Ethel Sams Land - tiny force of nature; mother, wife, sister, grandmother, friend; strong, resilient, passionate soul; creator of the most indescribably delicious fried chicken, chocolate cake and bran muffins ever known to man; enthusiastic dancer; owner of one of the original, joyful Land-women cacklelaughs - left us December 29, 1996 due to heart failure.
Vi was born to Ransom Fleener Sams and Ethel Daniel Ward in May of 1914 in Bard, California. She was a cherished 5th child out of 6, and the youngest of the girls in the family.
Vi spent most of her childhood in Yuma, Arizona and eventually moved to Compton, California where she met her future husband and forever soulmate, Robert Curry Land. The two were married in April 1933 in Vi's hometown of Yuma.
Bob and Vi were clearly, completely, utterly, irretrievably in love from the moment they connected, but not everyone was as convinced that this union would be a rousing success. Upon hearing of the upcoming nuptial, Vi's mother reportedly groused, "Well...she's going to marry that SOB."
Turns out Vi's mother didn't have anything to worry about - Bob and Vi's marriage was beautiful: the ideal example for their children and all of their grandchildren to strive for. When speaking of Vi, her family always speaks of her marriage and how in love they were, always. We all hoped to have a bond like this with our spouses one day.
Bob and Vi had two sons - Roger James Land and Richard Steven Land. Vi was a devoted, loving, focused mother. She was a quiet but powerful example of grace and compassion in the home and her dedication to self-sufficiency was progressive for her time. Vi worked to raise her children and care for her home, and she proudly held business and sales jobs for most of her life.
Vi was a spitfire. Her determination was legend, and when she got an idea in her head it was next to impossible to convince her otherwise. Family lore tells of a time that, after suffering from what seemed like a head cold for weeks, Vi determined she was allergic to a night-blooming jasmine tree in her backyard. Frustrated by how ill she was feeling and desperate for relief, she went at the tree with an axe, chopping it into tiny pieces.
In the end the tree got its revenge, however - chopping it up had released gigantic amounts of whatever she was allergic to and Vi suffered an allergy attack so severe she was bed-ridden and miserable for days.
Laughing with Vi is one of the strongest and most consistent memories her grandchildren have of her. Her laugh, like nearly everything else about her, could not be ignored.
Vi loved to dance. Oh, how she loved to dance. But she married a man
She was a quiet but powerful example of grace and compassion who didn't dance and didn't want her to dance with anyone else. So Vi lovingly (but tenaciously) went to work to motivate her husband to dance with her. By the time the 1950s rolled around, she had succeeded. They didn't stop dancing together for 40 years. Her son Roger says of their dancing: "Their relationship grew stronger, Violet was happy and Bob started liking people, himself, and dancing."
Bob moved on from this life in 1992, four years before Vi. Resilient as always, Vi carried on but she grieved deeply for her husband, partner, and best friend. She would often speak of when she would see Bob again and there was no sadness when she would speak of passing on. She was confident of what she'd experience and she was determined to get back to her partnership with the person with whom she'd built an entire world.
At her funeral her son Roger shared this:
"It is said that a good woman can influence a man to be more than he, himself, realizes is possible. I think I saw that with Bob and Vi...My mother loved to laugh, hated squeaky violins and earthquakes, and would immediately go to bed at the first sign of thunder and lightning. She will be missed.
"But like her time on Earth when we asked where Vi was - someone would always say,
"She's with Bob."
Life Story Info
Cause of Death
Religion and Beliefs
Violet (far right) age three, with her sisters Velda and Florence.
In 1929 when Vi was 14 a plane unexpectedly landed in the field behind her house. She was in the bath when she heard her siblings shouting about it. In her rush to get out to see this marvel she could only find this dance costume to throw on.
Vi (front row, far right) with her siblings. Back row L-R: Virgil, Claude, Bruce. Front row L-R: Florence, Velda, Vi.
Apr 10, 1933
Vi and Bob's marriage announcement, April 1933.
Vi and Bob, one year married in 1934.
Bob holding granddaughter Jen and Vi holding granddaughter Brittney, 1977.
Making cookies with granddaughter Jen, Grand Junction Colorado 1983.
Vi in 1989.