Just before the pandemic, in January 2020, friends and family threw a 95th-birthday party for Adah Rhodes Cruzen.
She made it to 96 this past winter, but it wasn’t much of a time for parties. And now Ms. Cruzen is gone. Family and friends have been notified that she died today.
In her final years, Ms. Cruzen drew considerable local admiration for her generous support of local organizations and projects – perhaps most notably, the campaign to restore the murals created ~30 years ago in a civic project headed by her husband Earl Cruzen (who also made it to age 96 before dying four years ago).
“He left me a bunch of zeroes,” she joked in 2018. And she made good use of them. Her donation that year kickstarted the project to restore and repair the murals. Also in 2018, she made news with gifts to the Senior Center of West Seattle and to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, along with funding a new “Welcome to West Seattle” sign at the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge.
In 2019, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce honored her with the Westsider of the Year award. Longtime friend Clay Eals shared with us the script from that presentation, which noted that Ms. Cruzen had been a West Seattleite since she and first husband Bob moved here in the 1950s. After his death, she met second husband Willard Rhodes at Fauntleroy Church, and became friends with Earl’s then-wife Virginia Cruzen. Years aFter their respective spouses died, Adah and Earl married on his 80th birthday in 2000. After his death in 2017, she decided to carry out his wishes to continue to support their community, to which she shared Earl’s devotion. Eals recalls.a plaque that hung in Ms. Cruzen’s kitchen when she and Mr. Cruzen lived in a condo at Duwamish Head: “I wasn’t born in West Seattle, but I got here as fast as I could.”
Arrangements are being made through Evergreen-Washelli; we’ll let you know when there’s word of memorial plans.