Elizabeth Scruggs, a native of Ovilla, recently turned the ripe old age of 98 on March 3, 2018. As she achieved yet another momentous milestone, she openly shared the secret of her long and fruitful life.
The Creekside Church member remains a happy and blessed soul that attributes much of her longevity to her daily walk with the Lord, her service to others, and her positive attitude that she exhibits every day of her life.
She is one of the middle of the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. George Merrifield on March 3, 1920. She and her siblings were all born and raised in their home, just north of Ovilla. Her father was a farmer all his life, and grew crops of all sorts. He served as a hard-working man, taking care of the family.
Scruggs recalled her younger years in the Ovilla school district, “Two or three of my siblings and I usually rode our old gray mare bareback to the schoolhouse every day. When we reached the school building, our faithful horse would duck her head to the ground, and all of us kids would slide down her neck and head, so we could dismount.”
But the horse wasn’t always assessable so they would sometimes have to walk “quite a-ways to school.” She remembered one snowy day her uppity neighbor drove past the freezing children in his horse-drawn wagon, taking his own to school.
“I never understood it, but for some strange reason, he would never stop and ask if we needed a ride,” Scruggs admitted.
Scruggs explained after she completed the eighth grade, Ovilla’s education system was forced to shut down. That meant she would enter her first year of high school at Duncanville High School (DHS).
It didn’t take long for Scruggs to realize her athleticism and decided to play on the DHS girls’ basketball team. Scruggs will never forget the hideous uniforms they were required to wear. She described it as a one-piece uniform with a zipper down the front with bloomers that sufficed as shorts. She pointed out how at the time, the girls were forbidden to show their knees, so the bloomers were strange looking due to their length.
“My team was the first to get to use the brand-new Duncanville gymnasium, and that was quite a thrill,” Scruggs recalled. “One time we had to travel all the way to Waco for a two-day tournament. They didn’t have buses, so we all rode in several cars.”
“You would have thought we had traveled around the world, as most of us had never gone on trips very far from our home cities in our lives. We also had to spend the night, so we had the privilege of sleeping on the gym floor instead of a hotel,” she declared.
Scruggs humbly admitted that she had been voted the “Most Valuable Player” on her team, and was awarded a gold basketball trophy. She held onto the “antique” memento for over eighty years now but recently has let her grandson hold onto the prized possession.
After high school, Scruggs married the love of her life, Harold Scruggs, on Nov. 9, 1940, and had one son. As a young, married couple, they started going to church. In 1942, Scruggs was baptized in the Ten Mile Creek in DeSoto and has remained a faithful Christ-follower to this day.
She spent years as a member of the DeSoto Church of Christ, and then a congregation combined to form Creekside Church in Midlothian, where she is an active member and essential part of this church family still today. Scruggs currently serves as the cashier for many church functions, and always handles the money for Wednesday night meals.
She worked for 31 years for Dallas County in title work. She recalled trying to decipher complicated title work in her latter years, as they were dividing-up plots of land during the Joe Pool Lake project. She shared how much she loved her time spent at the county offices.
Scruggs lost her husband just one week shy of their 49th wedding anniversary. She expressed how she still misses Harold a lot, but she stays busy with several engaging hobbies. She enjoys knitting and quilting. She is proud to boast about the 83 quilts she hand-made during her lifetime. She is also an excellent cook – even today.
Scruggs is famous for her coconut pie and her strawberry cake (with real strawberries in the icing). She claims that in her world, “There is no faking in my baking.” She uses only fresh ingredients and capitalizes on made-from-scratch creations. She believes in baking and cooking the long, old-fashioned way, and her results are surprising. Her church’s most-recently released cookbook was filled with many of her tried-and-true, favorite recipes.
One of Scruggs’ church friends, Linda Crum, said, “Don’t play 42 with this sharp lady, cause she always knows what domino you’re going to lay down before you even place it on the table. She is a master of the game.”
Also, Scruggs is still an active driver. She generally makes short trips to visit her hairdresser and the local grocery stores in Red Oak and DeSoto. However, she took an unusually long trip to Dallas when she heard her son was in the hospital.
“My driver’s license is still good until March of 2019, and barring any unforeseen circumstances or health issues, I will be going to the DMV to renew my license again next year,” Scroggs said proudly.
Another of Scruggs’ close friends, Diane Guild, relayed, “Elizabeth Scruggs means the world to me. We talk almost every day. Sometimes I call her, and sometimes she calls me. But one thing is for sure she is always happy. If I am down that day, she will tell me ‘Get out of that house and drive to the grocery store and walk around. Then, you’ll feel better.’ Well, she is right. I do feel much better after that.”
Guild continues, “She is an inspiration to all who know her. I love that woman with all my heart. She is a God-fearing lady, and it shows in her daily walk with God.”