Violet Jean "Vi" Cardinalli
1934 - 2021
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Violet "Vi" Jean Cardinalli

Reno - APRIL 2, 1934 - MARCH 27, 2021

Violet "Vi" Jean Cardinalli, 86, of Reno, Nevada, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, March 27th, 2021.

Vi was born on April 2nd, 1934 to Leonard Evernden and Leola Kirkendall Evernden in Bridge, Oregon. In 1949, she moved with her mother from Bridge, Oregon to Tonopah, Nevada, where she graduated from High School in 1952. Her first job was in Tonopah at the Five-and-Dime Store. She later went on to work at Tonopah's Corner Store and Mizpah Hotel.

In 1952 she married Michael L. Merlino and together they had one child, Michael D. Merlino. In 1957, Vi moved to Reno where she lived off-and-on until her passing. In 1962, she married David L. Cardinalli and had two children, Robert D., and Thomas W. Cardinalli. Vi was a fiercely dedicated mother to her three children, raising all to be equally strong and independent. Family was important to her and she instilled that value in all those around her.

Vi worked dealing blackjack and roulette in northern Nevada casinos for over thirty years. In the early 1960s, she worked at the Primadonna and Holiday casinos where sometimes the eccentric millionaire LaVere Redfield would tip her generously with silver dollars while playing roulette at her table. In the early 1970s, she worked at the Sands Regency and Circus Circus in Reno, and at the Crystal Bay Casino in Lake Tahoe's north shore in 1975. From 1976 through the mid-1980s she worked at the Sands, Sundowner, MGM, Bally's, and Reno Hilton, and in Sparks at John Ascuaga's Nugget and Baldini's.

Vi was a licensed Cosmetologist, Real Estate Agent, and Massage Therapist and worked those trades also throughout the years. She had a deep appreciation for nature, and enjoyed outdoor activities like camping and fishing, and she loved to collect gems and crystals. She studied and applied Holistic Alternative Medicine, Kinesiology, and Feng Shui philosophies to her life. She was keenly interested in genealogy and spent a lot of time researching and documenting her family history, linking family members back to the first wagon train that traveled the southern route of the old Oregon Trail in 1846.

She enjoyed having family over for backyard barbeques, to catch up, laugh and reminisce about life. She was a woman of the Christian faith and held a lifelong pursuit of spiritual wellbeing. Vi demonstrated resilience throughout her lifetime, and she will always be remembered as a talented, determined, strong, independent, and loving woman. The space left by her absence is impossible to fill, her spirit will always be with us and she will be dearly missed.

Violet was predeceased in death by her parents and siblings Larry Evernden, Doris Trefethren, Virginia Evernden, and Warren Evernden, and step-grandson Joshua Gamboa. She is survived by her 3 children Michael Merlino (husband to Nanette), Robert Cardinalli, and Thomas Cardinalli (husband to Angela): grandchildren Anthony (husband to Shari), Nicole (fiancée to Jose), Emil, David, Mahala (wife to Tom), Clayton, and Alana; 8 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be announced later for the summer of 2021.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Reno Journal-Gazette and Mason Valley News from Apr. 9 to Apr. 11, 2021.
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4 entries
April 12, 2021
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April 12, 2021
I remember being over there almost every weekend as a kid ,, Tommy would come get me ,she always treated me as her own ,, I have very fond memories and a lot of them she will b missed
April 12, 2021
Vi was an amazing, strong, resilient woman. She raised three independent string sons and true to her character she was feisty and strong TIL the end!! We shared many camping trips, vacations and family bbqs with her. She had the most amazing “ healing hands” and loved her last career as a massage therapist healing people through essential oils, herbs and massage. Love ❤ you for always
April 10, 2021
Vi was a special lady. We enjoyed many impromptu BBQ's with her and she did the only massage I've ever had. May she be at rest. My condolences to the family.

Patricia Jacobson Simpson
patricia simpson
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