Highland Park Church Matriarch to be Remembered

Rev. Elizabeth Cruver 1925-2014

By EGP Staff Report

From the “big white house” and church above Figueroa Street that overlooks Sycamore Grove Park to the south and the Arroyo Seco Parkway to the east, the Rev. Elizabeth Cruver spent more than half a century ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of members of the Pillar of Fire Church in Highland Park and others facing difficult times.

“It is with sadness (and joy) that we have to report the passing onto glory of Mrs. Elizabeth Cruver,” the family said in an email inviting the community to join them at the “big white house” today at 7 p.m. to share stories and photos of Mrs. Cruver, who passed away Thanksgiving Day. She was 89.

Betty, as her friends called, was born in Grandview, New York in 1925. She moved with her husband Bishop William Cruver to Los Angeles in 1953 for what was supposed to be a two-year assignment by their church, but has instead lasted more than 50 years.


(Courtesy of Cruver Family)

The Cruvers dedicated the next five decades to running the Pillar of Fire Church and ministry, shepherding it through demographic and social changes happening all around them. Throughout those years, Mrs. Cruver, an ordained minister in the Pillar of Fire Church who held two Masters Degrees, oversaw the education of generations of students at Sycamore Grove School as a classroom instructor and principal.

The Christian school, which was forced to shut down two years ago due to dwindling enrollment, took in students from all walks-of-life, many on scholarship. Students were encouraged by Mrs. Cruver to involve themselves in community service and to achieve academically.

The Cruvers have long supported efforts to engage Northeast Los Angeles churches in community outreach and involvement, such as the annual Peace in the Northeast walks against violence.

The doors of the “big white house,” where the Cruvers lived with their three children, were open to the less fortunate, often offering shelter to individuals and families facing hard times, domestic violence or on the verge of being homeless. Sycamore Grove students and youth from the local neighborhood, no matter their religious background, found a safe haven at the church, house and school where they could engage in positive extracurricular and summer activities. The church and school for years participated in the Annual Northeast Los Angeles Holiday Parade.

This evening’s visitation with the family will be held at 7 p.m. at Pillar of Fire Church (big white house) — located at 4900 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park, CA 90042. Funeral services will also be held at the church on Friday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. There will be no graveside services as Rev. Cruver will be interred in New Jersey. A reception will follow the funeral services at Highland Park Baptist Church, 5817 Monte Vista St. Los Angeles, CA 90042.

Rev. Cruver is survived by her husband of 64 years, Bishop Cruver; her three children, daughter Ruth Crawford and her husband Scott Crawford; son Ray Cruver; daughter Denise Simpson and her husband Harvey Simpson; and grandchildren, Emily, Matthew, Jamie, Victoria and Noelle.

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December 4, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


2 Responses to “Highland Park Church Matriarch to be Remembered”

  1. Michelle Albertson on December 14th, 2014 5:56 am

    I was a student at Sycamore Grove School. I had a wonderful experience. I was there in 1985 I graduated from 8th grade. My name is Michelle Albertson.
    I am now a RN and am grateful for all they provided me with a strong foundation in the knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. I also met a good friend named Sonia Curbelo whom I met in second grade and went to high school then junior college together! My cousin later went there named Andrea Arteche. I had Mr Craigs as my instructor in 7 and 8th grade and prior to that was Mr. Morris 5 and 6th grade and prior to that I had Mrs Cruver in 3 and 4th grade then prior to that Miss Fonseca in 2nd grade. Miss Fonseca went to school with my Mom in 4th grade I believe it was. I will always remember Mrs Cruver.
    Michelle Albertson

  2. LAURA JEFFREYS on April 9th, 2015 4:19 pm

    I attended Sycamore Christian Day school in 1970- 1972. I also attended the Pillar of Fire Church. I was only 13. I absolutely loved the Cruvers. Mr. Cruever and Ray would come and pick me up every week for youth group. We had a great time going to the piier and to the ocean at night to watch the runyans!
    I had a crush on Ray Cruver! He and I hung out with Annette Morales who also attended Sycamore grove. My friends were, Annette Morales, Sonni Lundgren, Ray Cruver, Tim Martinkez.
    Thank you for taking care of me and being so kind.
    May Betty Cruver rest in peace. What a wonderful human being she was. Love and best wishes always to Bill, Ruth and Ray.
    I remember when Ruth and Scott had just gotten married in NJ. And Ray and I were great friends. God bless you and your family.

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