Eleanor Crouch (right) celebrated her 80th birthday last week. Her friend John Wentz( left) joined her for the birthday party. Photo by Don Johnson

1st woman Mayor Eleanor Crouch lauded during birthday celebration

February 06, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesShe was an active domestic engineer with a large family who - slightly ahead of the times - became increasingly interested in politics and public service: and Eleanor Crouch, focus of a grand weekend-long celebration marking her 80th birthday, eventually became the first woman Mayor of Santa Paula.Hillview Estates, now Eleanor’s home, was the scene of a Saturday party the day after her Jan. 25 birthday. Over 50 friends gathered for dinner and nostalgic entertainment by musical maven Bob Andrews.The evening also featured a power-point presentation tracing Eleanor the family’s life through photographs, said her daughter, Donna Landeros.“Mom went into the political end when I was headed in the staff direction, we had that in common,” said Landeros, Ventura’s City Manager. “There was a value of community service in our family and we were all raised with that very strong ethic,” of volunteerism and social service.An original “Valley Girl” born in Reseda, Eleanor met her future husband, the late engineer William Crouch, when they were children. They married in 1941 and started their family, eventually settling in Woodland Hills but moving to Santa Paula in the 1950s when William joined Wilson, Stroh & Wilson.William served on the Planning Commission and Eleanor served on the same later after a stint on the Recreation Commission.“Convinced by her friends,” and supporters, said daughter Janet of San Diego, Eleanor ran for the City Council in 1974, serving as Mayor 1977 and 1978; her last year on the council was 1982.
“This was a particularly challenging time for all the Crouches, particularly Dad who willingly learned how to cook for himself in order to survive the many evenings that Eno [Eleanor’s lifelong nickname] attended meetings,” Janet noted.Named a Santa Paula Woman of History in 1994, the first year of the popular program, Eleanor’s weekend birthday celebration spilled over into Sunday when a birthday cake was served after services - Eleanor served as a special greeter - at the First United Methodist Church.“For the first time in our family’s history we’re all on the West Coast together,” said Landeros.Aside from Donna and Janet, also attending Eleanor’s birthday celebration were Bob Crouch, who lives in Granite Falls, Dan of Lafayette and Tom, a resident of Monterey. In addition, three of Eleanor’s nephews “from all over the place,” said Landeros with a laugh, and Eleanor’s brother Jim Denham of Apple Valley were also at Saturday’s gala birthday dinner.“It’s the first time in quite a while that we all got together for a happy event; it was very special,” said Landeros.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.