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90th Birthday

Christie Clark Gardner
by: contributed photo, Christie Clark Gardner

In an early party on Sept. 23, Christie Clark Gardner of Gresham celebrated her 90th birthday with about 60 friends and family in the Gresham Masonic hall. Born at 11:30 a.m. on Christmas day, she has always come up short in the birthday celebration department.

'Because her birthday is on Christmas, she's only had two birthday parties in her life,' explains her daughter, Audry Estes of Canby, 'one at 75 and now this one at 90.'

To complicate matters, Christie Gardner doubled up on the date and at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 25, 1936, exactly 20 years after her birth, married Charles Gardner, resulting in a confluence of birthday and anniversary on Christmas.

She was born in Neosho, Mo., on Dec. 25, 1916, the eighth of 12 children born to John and Mabel Clark.

'The story is that the rest of the kids in the family were sent to the neighbor's house for the day when the mid-wife came to deliver her. There wouldn't have been any Christmas dinner or anything at her house with a baby coming,' her daughter says.

A resident of Huntington Terrace in Gresham, Christie Gardner worked many years in the 1940s and 1950s in cutting up chicken in the Colson and Bridgmon poultry processing plants in East Multhomah County. She worked at the Colson's plant when the first chickens were processed and wrapped in cellophane. Friends from those working days joined her at the party.

She and Charles Gardner, a carpenter who worked on the Bridge of the Gods, moved west in the 1940s. Her husband died in 1967.

She was affiliated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliary and in 1987 was featured in The Outlook for her volunteer work visiting the elderly at Village Convalescent Center.

Her children, Audry Estes of Canby, Charles Gardner of Troutdale and Kathy Blanchard of Milwaukie, hosted the party. Friends from Oregon, Washington and Missouri were present. She has eight grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.