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Virginia Euler, horsewoman, firehouse supporter


Virginia R. Euler, an accomplished horsewoman, died July 20 from complications after surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 78.

She trained and rode horses most of her life, said her daughter, Nancy R. Ringgold of Fallston. And she was one of the first women to gallop horses at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Ms. Ringgold said.

But friends also remembered her as a "beautiful woman" of many avocations.

"She was interested in so many things -- horses, flowers, her peacock," said longtime Monkton neighbor Sarah Houck.

The peacock, which provided a source of amusement for Mrs. Euler and her three grandchildren, mysteriously showed up at the home one day, Ms. Ringgold said. He was named "Bobby" after Mrs. Euler's late husband, Robert F. Euler, who died in 1991.

They had been married for 15 years. Two earlier marriages ended in divorce.

Mrs. Euler also enjoyed cooking for her family and friends, Ms. Ringgold said. "She slaved most over preserves. Strawberry and peach were her favorites."

One of Mrs. Euler's sons, D. Randolph Lewis of Phoenix, said the family home always was open to guests.

"It didn't make any difference if people just stopped in for dinner, there was always plenty of food," he said. "People were continually coming and going. Mom loved it."

Mrs. Euler also had her "orphans," people who turned to her for help, Ms. Ringgold said. "She was very charitable in a quiet way."

In recent years, Mrs. Euler was involved in fund-raising efforts with the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. "She was a fire-department junkie," her daughter said, laughing.

Mrs. Euler's other son, Jhett S. Lewis of Monkton, said, "She loved to ride on the family-owned fire engine. When in the cab, she was the chief and everyone knew it."

Mrs. Euler arrived in Monkton in 1948 when she and her second husband, Charlie Lewis, bought a horse farm there.

Her friend, Edna M. Blind of Towson, said, "Those were the great days of Maryland racing. . . . Virginia and Charlie were very successful."

The former Virginia Rainier was born in Short Hills, N.J., in 1916. She was descendant of Adm. Peter Rainier, after whom Washington's Mount Rainier is named, and other ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and signed the Declaration of Independence, Ms. Ringgold said.

Mrs. Euler grew up on Long Island, N.Y. She was described in a New York Tribune article in the mid-1930s as, "an accomplished artist and dreams of owning her own stock farm, with thoroughbred hunters."

On the way to her dream, Mrs. Euler served in the Red Cross during World War II. She drove an ambulance at Fort Benning, Ga.

"She cut a wide swath," Ms. Ringgold said.

The family will receive friends from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow at 15901 Irish Ave., Monkton. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton.

The family requests contributions to the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company New Building Fund, Phoenix 21131.

Mrs. Euler also will be honored with a plaque at her favorite table at the Manor Tavern in Monkton, where she and friends dined regularly, Ms. Ringgold said.

In addition to her daughter, two sons and three grandchildren, Mrs. Euler is survived by a stepdaughter, Robin E. Freeter of Baltimore; and a sister, Amy B. Edwards of Houston.

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