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Davis Journal

104-year-old Bountiful man hasn’t let age stop his love of learning

Sep 15, 2022 03:43PM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—Keith Crandall has lived for over a century but the 103-year-old, who turns 104 on Sept. 17, still has a love for learning. Although he is now blind in one eye, that doesn’t stop him from always having a book in his hand or watching YouTube to find out how to make something. 

“He watched great courses on DVDs and taught himself algebra and calculus,” said Keith’s son Shane Crandall. “If I knew everything he’s forgotten I’d be absolutely brilliant. It’s difficult for him to get out and about now but he has his books and he loves to play solitaire on his iPod.”

Keith and his wife Betty have been married for 71 years and they’ve lived in the same house in Bountiful for 65 years. 

“We met when I was working as a waitress at the Skylark in Salt Lake,” said Betty. “He was working around the corner at Kate Equipment and he would come in for lunch. My sister worked in the building next to his and he was always asking her to get a date with me.”

He’d come in and ask me for a date, Betty said. “I was going with someone else so I would say no. Then we broke up so when he was having lunch with some coworkers I went over and said ‘I’ll go out with you tonight.’”

His mother had arranged a date for him that night, she said. “He broke that and we went out. We dated for a while. Then 13 of us got in a paneled truck and went to Nevada where my mom and step dad had a ranch. We got married down there.”

Keith had served in World War II and before they got married he had promised he wouldn’t go into the service, said Betty. “But we’d been married three weeks and he was recalled to the Korean War and stationed for a year in Japan. He came home to a little baby girl.”

Keith’s mother had four boys and they all went to World War II, she said. “She was raising them alone and he thought he should go into the service to make some money for his mother.”

He was always a hard worker, Betty said. “Keith was never without a job. He started at the Piggly Wiggly store back in the meat department sweeping sawdust off the floor. He hitchhiked to pick cherries.”

Keith went to work for mining company Bucyrus-Erie, she said. “It was the biggest mining company in the world at that time. He traveled a lot for that. Any place that had a mine.”

 He did that for many years, said Betty. “When they started to cut employees they kept saying ‘you’re not going to go’ but then one day we got a letter that said in 30 days he wouldn’t have a job.”

He wound up getting a job as range master at the Bountiful Shooting Range for the Lions Club, she said. “He worked there for 21 years until he was 94. It was absolutely wonderful.”

Keith loved to be up at the shooting range, said Betty. “He built rifles. He didn’t really hunt, he just liked guns.”

He was also a woodworker, she said. “He made a china closet and a hutch. He started making treasure boxes for our grandsons when they left on their (LDS) missions. I’d save up quarters while they were gone and put it in the box. They’d have about $300 in quarters when they came back.”

He’s always been an avid fisherman, said Shane. “We’d go fishing a lot. Soldier Creek was his favorite place to go. It was a family affair for anybody who wanted to go. We also went camping.”

The Crandalls had six children, with one from Betty’s previous marriage. “We had six but raised five,” said Betty. “One baby only lived a week and we lost a daughter to pancreatic cancer 10 years ago. That was so hard.”

They have four great great grandchildren with two on the way, she said. “It’s been a wonderful life.” λ