Ellen Skaggs remembered: She was a master gardener, Butler County Fair ribbon winner and judge

Son hopes to continue legacy of caring for the homeless in Hamilton.

A “tremendous woman” who cared for people and animals with similar passion died last month in Oxford.

Ellen Gene Skaggs died June 30 after a short illness. She was 76.

“She lived a full life and for that I’m grateful,” said Jeffrey Truby, 52, her only child. “She was always about helping others.”

Skaggs raised a “gigantic garden” and provided fresh vegetables for those living in Hamilton homeless shelters, her son said. He hopes to carry on his mother’s legacy, he said.

Truby lived in Las Vegas for 25 years and returned to Butler County earlier this year to care for his mother on her farm in Millville.

Skaggs graduated from Hamilton Taft High School in 1964. Four years later, she graduated from Ohio State University and was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, majoring in journalism. She served as Assistant Society Editor at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and also worked for a newspaper in San Francisco, her son said.

She married Lt. Colonel Jesse Sparks Skaggs III on June 20, 1981 and they lived in Germany, Greece, Long Island, Albuquerque, and Israel and traveled extensively.

When her husband became ill, they returned to Hamilton.

She was a master gardener who won hundreds of ribbons at the Butler County Fair, many of them “Best of Show.” She eventually retired and served as a judge so others could win ribbons, her son said with a laugh.

She also volunteered for about 15 years at Berkeley Square.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton, 23 S. Front St., Hamilton. The family is asking that donations be made to a no-kill animal rescue organization in her memory.

Weigel Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

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