Many years before the “feminist” movement caught fire in America, a Gallatin lady was more than holding that banner high for Missouri females. Mary Edna Cruzen, demonstrating that dedication and intelligence were not restricted to males only, compiled an enviable career in government.

Mrs. Cruzen, left with two children to raise when her husband, Nat, died unexpectedly in 1931, soon established herself as an outstanding woman. She eventually served under two governors as labor commissioner and she is the only woman to have filled this post. And she did it half a century ago!

One of Mrs. Cruzen’s children, Richard, graduated from Annapolis and spent 38 years in the Navy, attaining the rank of Rear Admiral. Admiral Cruzen served as second in command on the Admiral Richard E. Byrd expeditions to Antarctica. Later he commanded at last two expeditions to the Polar regions. Mrs. Cruzen’s daughter, Mary, married an Army lieutenant who later became Major General Orville Walsh. General Walsh served during World War II on General MacArthur’s staff in the Pacific.

Mrs. Cruzen, whose large stately home still stands at 201 East Berry Street, was a highly respected citizen. Her front porch during summer was usually crowded with youngsters who couldn’t resist her cookies and lemonade.

— reprinted from the Gallatin Welcome booklet

Mary Edna Cruzen, the mother of Rear Admiral Richard Cruzen, is shown here at her home in Gallatin located at 201 East Berry Street. Mrs. Cruzen served as a State Labor Commissioner (1932-36). Source: State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia.


Capt. Richard H. Cruzen, USN, commander of Task Force Sixty Eight, the task force which made the U.S. Navy’s 1947 Antarctic Expedition. The native of Gallatin, MO, later achieved the rank of Admiral. [Official USN photography, filed June 25, 1946; #702828]