Former Arizona Governor honored with street naming

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PHOENIX -- Surrounded by friends, family and state leaders, former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford unveiled a commemorative sign Sunday.  A section of 17th Avenue, between Jefferson and Adams Streets, right in front of the state capitol, has been renamed after the Grand Canyon state's 18th Governor. 

Making this day more special, it happened to be Mofford's 90th birthday.

"I have some breaking news," said Mofford. "I'm the richest person in the world. Not financially, but in friends."

Known for her straight-forward and spunky attitude, Mofford showed she's still got it as she made the crowd laugh.

How does she feel about turning 90? "Old," Mofford giggled.  "But very happy. I"m glad to be alive."

Mofford paused, trying to hold back tears as she reflected on this special day, which will now be known as Rose Mofford Day.

"It means more than I could put into words," she said with a smile.

The crowd sang "Happy Birthday" and showered the former Governor with hugs and kisses. 

Mofford was born in Globe, Arizona on June 10, 1922. She was the youngest of six children. 

Mofford was the first female class president in the history of Globe High School, where she was successful in both academics and athletics. She played basketball and was an All-American softball player.

Mofford graduated in 1939 as class valedictorian and, based upon her father's advice, turned down an opportunity to play professional basketball with the All American Red Heads.

In 1957, she married T. R. "Lefty" Mofford, a captain with the Phoenix Police Department.  The couple divorced after a decade, but remained friends until his death in 1983. They never had children.

Mofford began her political career straight out of high school working as an office assistant at the capitol. And as they say, she worked her way up the ranks and the rest is history.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton noted, "She is an Arizona Legend, an example to follow and one of the best public servants I know."