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Family, friends hold party for centenarian
Etta Reynolds of Orland has known for a few years that that her family was planning a big bash to celebrate her 100th birthday.
The longtime custodian at Los Molinos Elementary School said living to a ripe old age is more about hard work, determination and the love of family than it is about luck.
"I not only had my own kids to raise but I had a passel of grandchildren to look after," said Reynolds, waving her had around the Newport Village community center that contained 75 to 80 members of her family and friends.
Reynolds, who was born on Jan. 12, 1913, in Damon, Okla., still lives in her own apartment at the village and still gets around the best she can.
"I feel fine," she said. "I don't see well anymore so I can't sew, but that's OK, I guess. I do something else."
Reynolds and her late husband Alexander moved to California in 1942.
He worked in the shipyards during World War II. She loved to sew and was an avid quilter.
Although they returned to the Oklahoma after the war, Reynolds said they preferred California.
The couple settled in the Corning area, where they raised five children, four of whom are still living.
Today, a third and forth generation of the Reynolds clan carry on family traditions — most hoping to enjoy similar longevity.
Grandson Derek Reynolds and his wife Rachelle, who flew down from Alaska, marvel at his grandmother's stamina.
"She never seems like she's slowing down to me," Derek Reynolds said.
Etta Reynolds said constant encouragement from her family helps keep her on her toes.
Youngest grandchild Maralee Van Note, 33, of Corning, agrees.
"We told her she would live forever," Van Note said. "We got her believing it."
Reynolds' family and friends came from all over the California, Oregon and beyond on Saturday.
Her oldest son, Benton Reynolds, came from St. Maries, Idaho.
Grandson Craig Reynolds came from New Orleans.
Most of Etta Reynolds' family at the celebration said they visit the Newport Village resident when they can, but that her 100th birthday did provide the opportunity for a family reunion.
"I saw my grandmother two years ago," said Craig Reynolds. "But there are cousins here I haven't seen in 20 years."
Etta Reynolds said she expects to see her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren again when she turns 101.
"I will be here," she said.
Reynolds is Newport Village's oldest resident.
She said she plans to live independently for as long as she can.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.