Antioch centenarian Crenna Boyd speaks with her daughter Margaret Dossey, recently. photo by Teresa Klein.
By Teresa Klein
Birthdays are a time to celebrate. While everyone has one each year, there are a few that are considered “milestones.” A child’s first birthday is, of course, something to celebrate. Hitting double digits at age 10, and then the parent-dreaded teens at 13. Teenagers get excited when they become “adults” at age 18 and in college their 21st birthday is often a blow-out celebration. As we age, though, adults seem to space their big celebrations further apart, often in 10-year increments–30, 40, the big 5-0! What about the BIG 1-0-0? Not many have the chance to hit this centurian milestone. Yet, here in Antioch there are a few.
One such woman – Crenna Boyd – not only celebrated 100, but has surpassed that by five years, once again celebrating each year as a milestone.
Born March 6, 1910, Crenna is a witty, spry 105 year old who is in really good health and still washes the dishes and takes care of herself. While her middle child, daughter Margaret Dossey now lives with her, Crenna takes each day as it comes and enjoys a life filled with family. She lives in the house her late husband Roy built in 1962 on Texas street, back when their neighborhood was an almond orchard and highway 4 was a small-town road.
Born in Oklahoma to farmers, she was the oldest of six. Her family moved often between Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Antioch. When she was 19, she married Roy (d. 1991) and they had three children, Margaret, her older sister Dolores Sugarman, and her younger brother Don. Crenna also has 12 grandchildren, 19 great, great grandchildren and 25 great, great, great grandchildren.
Living in Antioch when the city was smaller and slower paced, Crenna started working at the steel mill turning tin during World War II and continued until she retired in 1963. After retirement, Crenna decided she wanted to have some fun. Hse decided to travel the world and try things she never had until that point. Cruises with family, Jamaica with her granddaughters, the Cayman Islands, and England a few times were just some of her outings.
But her most adventurous – and some would say dangerous – trip was from 10,000 feet when she went skydiving. Talk about celebrating a milestone birthday in a big way! When Crenna turned 95 – yes only 10 years ago – she got the OK from her doctor, went out to Byron and met her skydiving instructor.
“It had been something she had been talking about for awhile,” said Margaret. “When she was talking with her granddaughter, she said ‘If I don’t like the guy [that I will jump with], I’m not going.’”
Crenna Boyd skydiving in Byron at age 95.
But Crenna liked what she saw (she said he “looked good”) and he was very nice and helpful, so the jump was a go. When asked if she had been afraid to jump, she said “Heck no! He wanted to get down to the ground safely as much as I did, so I knew I could trust him.”
With her family looking on, turning 95 became a birthday she’d never forget.
That was the only time Crenna jumped – once was enough, she said – and her adventures slowed down after that, but she still likes to travel – mostly to her summer home in Sequim, Washington. Margaret and Crenna head north to get out of the Antioch heat, and Crenna says it is her favorite place. “You can look up at the tall trees forever.”
Situated not far from Port Angeles, her Sequim home is isolated among the forest at the base of the Olympic Mountains and by the Dungeness River. Crenna enjoys spending the day sitting outside listening to the flowing water and the singing birds, and watching the scampering black squirrels.
Margaret says they usually spend June-September in Washington, but last summer extended all the way until February, 2015. “She likes it so much she didn’t want to leave,” said Margaret.
They did return to Antioch in time to celebrate her 105th birthday in March with 43 people and a white cake.
“Chocolate cake is too rich,” says Crenna, but adds still loves chocolate. At 105, her doctor says she can eat whatever she wants.
When Crenna turned 100, the family asked that no one bring gifts but instead bring 100 of something for fun. She received 100 pennies, 100 marbles, and even 100 packets of Taco Bell hot sauce. At that party Crenna told everyone “I’ll see you in five years,” and she did.
Now, after her big, big, big milestone of 105, she said “I’ll see you next year.” Smiling, she admits that one–year increments are long enough. As she reads her birthday poster she laughs because it says “Born 1910: many, many, many, many, many years ago! 105 and counting!”