Longtime Enterprise business owner and 63-year resident Frances Crow died Sept. 2 in Henderson, Nev. She was 97.
Frances came to Wallowa County in 1947 with her young son, Stanley, and first husband, Ernest Cloud, who was engineering a new sawmill in Joseph. They planned to stay “for a year, two at the most.”
Sixty-three years later, eyes glistening with tears, she left her Enterprise home to live with Stanley in Nevada.
In 1960, she married painting contractor and former Lostine rancher, Paul Crow, and the following years with Paul were the highlight of her life. She made many new friends, enjoyed an active social life, and traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
After Paul passed away in 1979, she focused on operating Citizens Title with Kathleen Leonard. The office had been opened in 1976 by attorneys Kurt Swinburnson and Bill Kirby and Realtor Arnold Frederick with Frances as its original manager. Over the years the founders left the company, making Frances and her new partner, Linda Testerman, full owners. They continued to operate Citizens Title until 1996 when they sold to Community Bank.
Frances served her community as a member of the Enterprise City Council, Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce, and various booster committees. She was president of Soroptimist International of Wallowa County and Beta Sigma Phi, as well as treasurer of the American Red Cross chapter. In 1990, she was honored as Grand Marshal of the Enterprise Crazy Daze Parade.
Among her favorite activities were bridge with her many friends and bowling for more than 40 years with the same team, including Gail Beck, Betty Botts, and Laura Jean Locke. After selling Citizens Title, she began wintering in Waikoloa, Hawaii, where she fell in love with the beautiful tropical flowers and crashing surf.
Frances was born in Portland, Ore., on April 19, 1918. Her father was William Elmer Perkins, born at Anatone, Wash., and her mother was Betsey Emelia Efteland, born in Shelly, Minn., to Norwegian immigrants. Her great-grandparents, Joel Perkins and Laura Hawn, were among the first settlers of the Oregon Territory, arriving in the Willamette Valley in the early 1840s.
She grew up in small lumber and farm towns in Siskiyou County, Calif., where she and her two sisters could run free, create their own entertainment and sometimes get into a little trouble. She especially remembered the fun of building a miniature golf course from scraps of this and that and the danger of nearly blowing themselves up while trying to make their own steam whistle.
Her most frightening experience occurred while she was living with an aunt and attending high school in Long Beach, Calif. On Good Friday of 1933, the entire city was devastated by a powerful earthquake, and her school was completely destroyed.
She finished high school and a postgraduate business course in San Francisco, and then lived, worked, and married in Modoc and Plumas counties of California. At the beginning of World War II, she and her family moved to Vallejo, Calif., where she was employed at Mare Island Navy Yard until war’s end.
She is survived by her son, Stanley Cloud, of Henderson, Nev., sister Marguerite Pederson of Anchorage, Alaska, nephew Lee Pederson, also of Anchorage, and niece Virginia Johnson of Crabtree, Ore. Her parents, her two husbands, her sister June Perkins, and her half-brother Clifford Renoud all died earlier.
A brief service will be held at Bollman Funeral Home at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, and she will be buried beside her beloved Paul in the Enterprise Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Soroptimist International of Wallowa County, the Enterprise Cemetery, or another charity of your choice.