Martha Geneva Boyd, who spoke her mind as she gave her all in service to family, church, and neighbors, died Friday in her West Toledo home. She was 106.
She’d become unable to swallow and was under hospice care, but she hadn’t been in ill health, her daughter Carol Yates said. When going out, she still donned the stylish attire for which she was known.
“The Sunday before she passed, she went to church. She always sat right behind pastor,” her daughter said. “She had on this real pretty white and brown and black skirt and a black blouse, a beige with black buttons jacket. She had on her makeup, her earrings and her hat and her purse.”
Nephew Ervin Arney said: “She loved to dress.” And when she saw others in less-than-flattering outfits, she spoke up.
“She was joyful and she was kind, but she was real feisty,” her nephew said. “She spoke her piece.”
Until earlier this year, Mrs. Boyd took part in outreach activities of Friendship Baptist Church, where she’d been a member since 1938. She sat with people when they were ill and cleaned their houses — church members and neighbors alike — and she helped cook and bake for funeral dinners.
“That was God’s gift he gave her,” her daughter said. “For Thanksgiving, she invited not only the family, but half the church. She got a kick out of doing things for people.”
She was born April 13, 1911, to Roxie and Samuel Daniel, the 10th of what would be 12 children, and grew up on a farm near Waco, Ga.
Mrs. Boyd later moved to Toledo, where one of her sisters had settled. She did domestic work and was a cook at the former Mary Manse College. She became a home health aide for what is now the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, and she retired in the mid-1970s from what is now Family Service of Northwest Ohio.
Baking was her best hobby, she told The Blade before her 100th birthday. She was hailed for her sweet potato pie and cobbler, and especially her pound cake.
Most of her siblings lived past 90 years old, but Mrs. Boyd had no secret to her own longevity.
“I just did the normal things, being active in my community, spending time with my family,” Mrs. Boyd said in 2011. “I was a homemaker. I helped the needy and visited the sick. I still do.”
She grew up without electricity and easily adapted to advances in technology. Several days before she died, she communicated with her grandson Dwane via FaceTime.
“She never really talked about the changes. She just enjoyed them,” her daughter said.
She was formerly married to the late Ralph Boyd.
Surviving are daughters Marilyn Gandy and Carol Yates; three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. Thursday in the House of Day Funeral Service Chapel. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Friendship Baptist Church, with a family hour at 10 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer’s Association.
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