Gertrude Lunde Cropsey was born April 30, 1910, the daughter of Alva A. and Pearl Whaley Newton. Until age nine, she lived on the family farm between Corvallis and Philomath, which was originally the donation land claim of her great-grandfather, Abiathar Newton, and his wife Rachel. After the family sold the farm and moved into Corvallis, Gertrude attended North School (later Franklin) and graduated from the old Corvallis High School in 1927. A 1931 graduate of the Oregon Agricultural College, Gertrude taught in Seaside for a year before her marriage and return to Corvallis. She raised her three sons here with her first husband, an OSU professor of agricultural engineering.
When Gertrude’s eldest son was ready to join Cub Scouts, she went to see the minister of the First Congregational United Church, who happened to be looking for a scout leader. Gertrude then began her thirty-four-year career as a den leader and volunteer, working with generations of Corvallis youngsters. She was a den leader for ten years, including three years at the Children’s Farm Home. She worked with the Benton District to train scout leaders and started Cub Scout day camps in the area. In 1971 she received the Benton District Award of Merit for outstanding service to the youth of the community. In 1972, she was awarded the Silver Fawn (later called the Silver Beaver) Award, which is the highest award given by the Oregon Trail Council of Boy Scouts of America. “Scouting can be a real help to parents,” she said. “It builds character and responsibility in boys through fun. But it doesn’t work very well if parents don’t become active and enthusiastic themselves.”
Gertrude was a volunteer for many community groups, including the First Congregational United Church of Christ. In 1994, she received the God and Service Recognition for her contributions to the community. In 1998, she was named Corvallis Senior First Citizen. She served on the board of directors for United Way and was an active alumnae of her college sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.
Myron Cropsey moved to Corvallis after World War II and raised two sons and three daughters here with his first wife. He, too, taught in the agricultural engineering department. Having lost their spouses, Myron and Gertrude found joy in one another and were married in 1979. Myron and Gertrude together gave ninety years of dedication and service to the Boy Scouts of America. Their tireless, lifelong commitment was honored with the Meritorious Service Award, presented in 1998 by the Rotary Club and BCF.
Myron was a Boy Scout as a youth and earned the coveted status of Eagle Scout before becoming a leader himself. He served as scout master and assistant scout master in California, then moved to Oregon State University to pursue his doctorate in agricultural engineering and took on the role of scout master. He later took over the swimming program, helping boys earn their merit badges. He also served as Troop Committee Chairman for Troop #1 in Corvallis. He served in World War II in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. Even with nearly fifty years of involvement in scouting, his contributions to the community, and especially to youth, go much farther. He also served as treasurer with the Council for Children, the organization that provides food for hungry children. In addition, Myron and Gertrude were both active in scouting at the Children’s Farm Home and have been honored with the Silver Beaver Award from the Oregon Trail Council for their many contributions. Myron also served on the city council for two years.
After Gertrude’s death April 22, 2000, memorial contributions from friends, family, and a gift from Myron established this fund to benefit the Parent Enhancement Program. The Parent Enhancement Program’s (PEP) mission is to prevent child abuse and maltreatment through educating, inspiring, and empowering young parents to be successful individuals capable of leading strong, nurturing families.