Eleanor Elizabeth (Bowman) KrauseMarch 17, 1934 ~ September 22, 2017 (age 83)
Oregon girl Eleanor Krause was born Eleanor Bowman in Estacada in 1934. The first house she could remember living in was in Cascade Locks, in the Columbia River Gorge, where her father worked for the Forest Service and her mother was a schoolteacher in the Bull Run Forest Reserve (whose school had to close for the duration of her honeymoon, since she was the only teacher).
Eleanor did not have an easy childhood. When she was six, her father was killed in a forest fire accident. She and her three brothers were split up among area family members—an aunt and uncle in Estacada, grandparents in Wilsonville—while their mother worked a variety of jobs. Working as a lab assistant at the Crown Zellerbach paper mill in Oregon City, her mother met a plant machine tender 18 years her senior. He courted her quietly, and, six years after being widowed, she remarried—and reunited the family in a house at the top of the hill on South End Road in Oregon City.
In high school, Eleanor was assistant editor of the yearbook and a Forty-Niner, a marching majorette. After graduating, she attended the University of Oregon for two years, then returned home to work, first as a waitress, then as a bank messenger, then in the bank’s Trust Department. At one point, a friend from “single-girls’ apartment days,” Norma, mentioned that her brother was returning from a four-year hitch in the Air Force and wanted to meet some of his sister’s girlfriends. Norma introduced Eleanor to Kurt in November 1956; they got married the following September.
They lived in a second-floor apartment in a Victorian house a few blocks from Portland State University, where Kurt was a student on the GI bill when he wasn’t working at Davidson’s Bakery in Southwest Portland. They had their first son, Gregor, in 1959, and their second, Derek, in 1960. The family moved to San Francisco in 1964, where Eleanor began working again in banking and Kurt went to school at San Francisco State University, serving beer at night at the Red Garter. They moved to a duplex on the island of Alameda in 1965, welcomed a third son, Peter, and moved into a charming Victorian of their own. There the family would stay for more than 20 years.
Eleanor took an active interest in the feminist movement and went to work as assistant manager in a bookstore/eatery/arts studio. As the older boys neared the end of high school, Eleanor returned to school, first completing two semesters of French at the island’s community college, and then transferring to the University of California at Berkeley. For a few years, she, Gregor, and Derek were all at Cal together. In 1980, she graduated from Berkeley with degrees in Journalism and English Literature.
She wrote for the newsletter of the community college and was involved in women’s groups and a proto-farmer’s market vegetable group.
In 1987, she and Kurt moved back to Portland, where Eleanor continued writing professionally (working on the master plan for Washington State University Vancouver and a wide variety of other projects) and staying heavily involved with numerous groups and organizations, including the University of Californa Alumni Association and the National Federation of Press Women. She was President of the Portland Chapter of AAUW from 1998 to 2000, she belonged to two book groups, and she and Kurt were devoted to their gourmet group and a neighborhood movie group.
Eleanor had been complaining of leg pain for a matter of weeks before her doctors were able to figure out that she had acute myeloid leukemia. She received treatment for a month or so but was increasingly miserable and unhappy with any of her prospects.
Once it was clear that she would not recover enough to maintain any kind of life she was interested in, Eleanor decided she wanted to die at home. She left the hospital and entered hospice care on Wednesday September 20. She told loved ones she hoped “it would be quick.” It was. Diagnosed in July, she died, in her sleep, very early on the morning of September 22.
Eleanor is lovingly survived by her husband, Kurt; her three sons, Gregor, Derek, and Peter; and her two granddaughters, Astrid and Annika. And she is lovingly remembered by the hundreds of extended family members, friends, colleagues, and classmates whose lives she brightened for 83 years.
*The family asks that you please consider making a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Eleanor’s memory.