A Generous Judge
Berkeley Crookham’s homage to his father ("Living History," December 2004) was a very interesting and detailed "look" into a full and well-spent life. I noticed one omission, however. Judge Crookham, for a token fee I might add, performed my marriage ceremony and surely many others (for one, he also tied the knot for my step-daughter and her husband.) This generous giving of his (usually) weekend time was yet another way in which he gave to his community.
La Canada, Calif.
Thanks for the nice piece about the late Charles S. Crookham, written by his son, who must be the unidentified person in the photo on the first page of the story. [Editor’s note: He is.] As a staff writer for the Oregon Journal, I came to know Judge Crookham as a member of the press covering the Multnomah County Courthouse beat. When I later became a member of the bar, and appeared before him as presiding judge, I had the opportunity to see him in a different light. Both experiences were most favorable.
In the newspaper days, the press was always welcome to his chambers when court wasn’t in session. We would gather informally there and chat about local cases of interest, courthouse politics, and get some instruction on the law, while music from a Broadway show played quietly on his stereo. "Hello Dolly" was a favorite. During one of those sessions, he talked about his military duty. He had a picture on his wall of him and Gerry Frank, both in uniform, taken in Europe. Frank was in a unit assigned near where Judge Crookham was encamped, and they wound up together for the photo. Frank had a pistol on his hip, and when the picture hit the local press, Frank’s father, Aaron Frank, hit the roof, as he thought his son was a non-combatant, according to Judge Crookham.
He also told us of liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp. Townspeople nearby told U.S. soldiers that they knew nothing about the atrocities being committed at the camp, according to Judge Crookham. The commanding officer of Crookham’s unit had his men march the entire population of the town through the camp so they could see it first hand. A similar event was depicted in the HBO movie series "Band of Brothers."
Presiding court under him was a tidy affair and well described by his son. Even if a motion didn’t cut muster, we were all fairly treated.