Barbara Crookham Euler
November 27, 1916 – March 29, 2019
Barbara Crookham Euler passed away on March 29, 2019, at the age of 102. She was a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt, as well as a US Army veteran and longtime Planned Parenthood advocate.
A proud native Portlander, Barbara was born in November 1916. She was the only child of Arthur Crookham, city editor at The Oregon Journal, and his wife Pauline. She grew up on Northeast 38th Avenue near Tillamook Street, attending Fernwood Grade School and Grant High School. After graduating from Willamette University in 1938 with a degree in biology, she taught for three years in Cascade Locks and for one year at McMinnville High.
Barbara enlisted in the Woman’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942 and completed Officer Candidate School as a second lieutenant. She spent 1942-43 in several training centers teaching military basics to women. Beginning in 1943, she became part of an ongoing effort to further “social hygiene,” or sex education, in the military. As part of her military career she had the chance to meet the Wright Brothers and to escort Eleanor Roosevelt on a tour of an air base that was working on the development of jet engines.
Barbara married Harry M. Euler, a childhood friend and lieutenant commander in the US Navy, in January of 1944. The wedding at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church in Portland was arranged with a week’s notice and attended by 200 people. She felt fortunate that they were able to have a wedding cake despite wartime rationing of butter and sugar.
She ended her military service at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, as a captain. Harry had been transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, and they lived in the town of Wilmette, Illinois, where son James was born.
After the war, the couple settled back in Portland as civilians. Barbara was a homemaker, raising three kids in the Grant Park neighborhood. She participated in PTA, Boy Scouts, and Campfire Girls during her children’s school years. She was active in the church as well, working in the late 1960s to develop a sex education curriculum to be taught to high schoolers. Barbara volunteered with Planned Parenthood for more than 30 years and joined a ground-breaking trip to China in the 1970s to learn about Chinese reproductive care. She also gave her time to United Way and several Portland School Board committees.
In her later years, she and Harry loved to travel, making many trips to Europe as well as South and Central America, Alaska, and Australia. Cannon Beach and Camp Sherman were among her favorite Oregon destinations.
Barbara spent her last 20 years at Holladay Park Plaza where she made many wonderful friends. In addition to doing crossword puzzles and reading, she loved to write and was editor for many years of the Plaza Review. She continued to write short articles right up to the end of her life.
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Harry, in 2003. She is survived by her three children: James (Diane) of Smith, Nevada; Constance Harris, of Beaverton, and Gordon (Eliza Romick) of Portland; as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
At Barbara’s request, there will be no formal public remembrance. Donations in Barbara’s name would be most welcome at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church in Portland (1907 NE 45th Ave., Portland 97213) and at Planned Parenthood (3727 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland 97212).