Atlanta loses longtime activist Ed Scruggs, 80

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imageLGBT activists and veterans joined in grieving the death of Ed Scruggs (photo) at a Nov. 18 memorial service that honored the man’s decades-long service to his country and to gay rights.

A Nov. 18 memorial service with family and friends marked the passing of the Atlanta native, who graduated from Buford High School in 1948 before attending Emory University and serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Scruggs was also a retired violinist with the Atlanta Symphony. He is survived by his sister and her husband, as well as several nieces and nephews and many friends.

Scruggs was a member of the LGBT veterans organization American Veterans for Equal Rights, and was most recently seen marching with the group in the Atlanta Pride Parade on Nov. 1.

Danny Ingram, an Atlanta member and national president of AVER, tells AVER members in a written message that Scruggs was found deceased on the bedroom floor of his home. He was fully dressed, apparently ready to begin his day. Cause of death was not immediately known.

“Ed purchased the very first flags and poles that we used for the color guard,” Ingram says in the message, “which makes him one of the true founders of the Atlanta LGBT veterans community.”

“He was a true inspiration and friend,” Ingram continues. “I can’t begin to imagine knowing that I can’t call him anymore. He has meant so much to all we have done as a community of LGBT vets working to find our place and our voice. … the victory that we will soon experience [acceptance of openly gay U.S. armed service members] will be very surely his victory as well.”

Other gay leaders posted their feelings about Scruggs passing online.

“For years he was a stalwart of queer activism in Atlanta,” says Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “Thank you, Ed for all you did to advance equality. Your spirit and passion will be missed.”

Duncan Teague, a longtime activist in his own right, included his thoughts on the memorial as well as the man:

“Wonderful man, beautiful service, so befitting his kindness and talent.”

Photo of Scruggs doing street activism courtesy Floyd Taylor.

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