Muriel Haskins Crownover, a longtime bookkeeper for the former White House department store in downtown Santa Rosa, died March 10 in Santee, where she has lived the past three years with her daughter.

Born July 30, 1923, in Eagle City, Okla., Crownover was one of four children born to Mable and Ray Diamond. After graduation from Eagle City High School, Crownover attended business school in Nebraska and embarked on a career in bookkeeping she would sustain well into her 80s.

She met and married J.R. Haskins, and when he returned home from serving in World War II, the extended family packed up and headed west, albeit taking a circuitous route.

"That whole family clan, they had heard about the redwoods in Northern California," said Crownover's daughter Vicky Flores of Santa Rosa. But the crew had to travel to Arkansas to pick up a piece of sawmill equipment before heading west, she said.

"It was kind of like 'The Grapes of Wrath,'" she said.

<CS8.8>After a short stay in Fort Bragg, three generations of Haskinses headed to Santa Rosa where they set up homes on Fulton Road.

</CS>"The whole family would get together and lay the foundation because that was the hardest part," she said.

Bucking the norm of the time, Crownover went to work. She worked for the White House as a bookkeeper before starting her own business.

"Everyone had a conniption because she didn't stay home," Flores said. "Money was scarce, but she was a really independent woman."

<CS8.8>Crownover eventually became a member of the Santa Rosa chapter of Professional Business Women.

</CS><CS8.6>After 27 years of marriage, Muriel and J.R. Haskins divorced. Muriel married Ernest Crown-over who was her partner for the next three decades before he died in 2005.

</CS>Crownover was heavily involved in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now known as Community of Christ Church, where she was an organist for more than five decades. She also was a member of the American Guild of Organists.

"She loved playing the organ," Flores said.

"She was so trustworthy, so honest," she said. "She never drank; she never smoked, never cussed. That wasn't her."

"She was a crossword puzzler. Mom was a very, very smart woman," she said. "She liked to knit and sew."

In addition to Flores, Crownover is survived by her daughter Judy Menne of Santee; stepdaughter Patricia Staeck of Yuma, Ariz.; seven grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

<CS8.8>A memorial service is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. April 14 at the Community of Christ Church, 1495 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa.

</CS><MC>— Kerry Benefield