SCRUGGS, JR., WILLIAM "BILL" M., 92
Gainesville - Bill Scruggs, 92, passed away on August 1, 2014. Born in Monticello, FL on Oct. 1, 1921 - a 3rd generation Floridian - to Wm. M., Sr. & Eulee Boulware Scruggs, both teachers. Bill worked on the family farm, played high school football, and became known as a practical joker. His stories of harvesting thousands of watermelon, planting smoke bombs, and getting caught smoking in the barn come from this time.
Bill joined the Army Air Corps in 1943, flying to England as an 8th Air Force B-17 pilot. Completing 21 missions between 5/5/1944 and 7/13/1944, he spoke with wonder of the D-Day mission over Normandy, and the thousands of transport ships filling the Channel. His final mission ended with a wheels-up crash landing in an English wheat field, killing 7 of 9 crew, as all bombs exploded and burned. Bill spent three years in hospitals and medically retired as a Captain. Honors: The Purple Heart, Air Medal, European Campaign, WWII Victory Medal, Voie de La Liberte, French Legion of Honor, and others.
Married in 1944, Bill and Margaret Kenney Scruggs raised three daughters, Ann, Kenney, and Cynthy. After the war, Bill attended UF, earning a BA in Industrial Arts Ed., a BS in Ag. Engineering, and an M.Ed.Amin.
Bill lived and worked in the communities of Monticello, Starke, Marianna, East Lake Weir, Titusville, and Gainesville, Fl. Always active in the community, he joined and served in leadership roles in Florida Blue Key; Kiwanis Club; Elks; Moose; Exchange; Retired Officers; American Legion; Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity; community theatre; Girl Scouts; Girl Scout camp development; briefly a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol; Red Cross; Lake Weir Chamber of Commerce; Marion County Democratic Committee; active life long Democrat; FFA mentor and advisor; Swing & Sway Dance Club; and served the USO to secure funds in Lake and Marion Counties. He took FFA students to two national conventions. Bill started a company providing central Florida dairies with artificial insemination services and also managed beehives, harvesting honey for many years. He received many awards, including the Governor's State Conservation Award, Valley Forge Freedom Teacher's Award, Freedom Foundation Citizens Award, and three National Science Awards. He took great pride in his work with the FFA, especially the years teaching at Lake Weir High School, and developing innovative classes for young women in Bradford County schools, teaching them basic plumbing, house, and car repair in the early 1950s.
In 1968, Bill shifted from direct instruction to administration of Continuing Education Programming at the University or Florida. After 30 years in teaching and administration, Bill retired from the State of Florida in 1977. He ran his own consulting company until 1981, when he sold the business, retired, and maintained his company in name only - no more work! Some of you have been blessed with items from his WeeWillie Enterprises product line.....alligator milk, dehydrated water, and his special exercise block. He continued to garden, stayed active at church and with fellow veterans, and enjoyed traveling. He was curious and passionate about learning, especially American History. Bill liked to work with his hands, to build things, to travel, to talk to people, to laugh, and to tell stories. He will be missed.
Bill attended Trinity United Methodist Church & was a life member of: The American Legion, VFW, DAV, Order of the Purple Heart, 8th Air Force Society, and D-Day Veterans Club. He visited over 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas, including all 50 states, 38 state capitols, and 18 National Parks, traveling mostly via military aircraft.
In the two evenings before his death, he planned his memorial service and gave direction on how to finish and distribute his latest project...traffic signal birdhouses.
Bill is survived by two daughters Ann Scruggs, Gainesville, and Cynthy Scruggs, Lafayette, IN; two grandsons, Alexander Smith, Chicago, Il. and Adam Smith, Evansville, In.; his former wife, nieces, nephews, and numerous cousins.
Milam funeral home will be handling arrangements and have details.
A service at Trinity Methodist is tentatively planned for late September followed by a military interment.
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
Published in Ocala Star-Banner from Aug. 6 to Aug. 7, 2014