Described as a 'thrill seeker' Bay Area woman marks 108th birthday surrounded by family

- It's been a pretty special couple of days for Antioch resident Crenna Belle Boyd who turned 108 on Tuesday. 

A family gal with loved ones being her greatest treasure, Boyd survived the Great Depression and weathered the task of being a farm wife during troubling times. 

And in the process, she raised three of her own children, which led to 12 grandkids, 25 great grandkids, 30 great, great grandkids and one great, great, great grandkid. 

At any given family event, six generations may share a table.

For her birthday, the family made sure she was surrounded by love. With family members visiting the Bay Area from as far away as Tennessee, they held an “open house” on Saturday - four days ahead of her birth date. 

And though this centenarian spends the majority of her days resting, her oldest granddaughter, Janet Dossey-Barton, says she will always forego a nap if it means she gets to spend time with her family.

“If anyone is at her house she will get right out of bed no matter how tired she is,” Dossey-Barton said.

Born Crenna Crawford in Grove, Oklahoma on March 6, 1910, she was the oldest of six children. She’s the only one still alive. 

At 25, Boyd went West and moved to Antioch where she and her husband eventually built a home, and planted a Meyer lemon tree on their property. 

She loves that tree, Dossey-Barton said. “She’s been squeezing it for 60 years.” 

70 years later, Boyd still lives in that home.

Her husband died in 1991. 

For 35 years, Boyd worked at the United States Steel Corporation in Pittsburg before she retired in 1972. 

The years she’d been retired became a running joke between her and Dossey-Barton, with her granddaughter being the brunt of the joke.

“She always liked to tease me that she has been retired longer than I’ve worked,” said Dossey-Barton. 

Boyd was a true conservationist, according to family members, steadily recycling everything throughout her entire life.

She's also described as a bit of a thrill seeker. 

At 95 years old, she went skydiving in Byron. She did a tandem jump from 14,000 feet. The idea was all hers. No other family members joined. 

When asked why, she offered a simple response: “Just because.” 

Beyond her deep love for her family and for her treasured lemon tree, there are a couple of other things that Boyd appreciates - watching "Judge Judy" and acquiring anything free. 

In fact, her frugality is one reason why she chooses not to take any medication. None at all.

Besides the fact that she doesn’t really need it, Dossey-Barton added, “It’s usually because it costs money and she doesn’t want to spend it.” 

Above everything else, for Boyd, her family is her life. And if there’s one thing that’s vexing, for her, it’s her mobility and how that impacts the time she spends with her grandchildren.

“She wishes she could be more active,” Dossey-Barton said. “But she’s content with what being 108 affords her.”
 

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