D.H. Scarborough, a supporter of Vienna businesses and community leader, was the first person to show up to events and last one to leave.
That’s how friends remember the 85-year-old accountant who co-founded the Vienna Business Association and became known for helping organize the town’s annual Halloween parade.
Scarborough, whose full name is Donna Helen Macdonald-Scarborough, died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 15 at her Manassas home.
“She was very, very well-rounded in wanting to do everything for everybody,” said Kathy Georgen, who co-founded the Vienna-based accounting firm Georgen Scarborough Associates with Scarborough in 2008.
Scarborough would always put the customer first, just like when she was raising her four sons on her own, Georgen says, even if that meant driving to older people’s homes or other places to serve her clients’ needs.
In addition to serving as the first VBA board chair and president of the Town Halloween Parade Committee, Scarborough was involved in the Town of Vienna Historical Association, the chamber of commerce, and various town commissions, among other contributions “to her beloved town,” her obituary says.
She had also been named Lady Fairfax and won awards for business owner and business person of the year.
In her community roles, Scarborough loved serving kids and often helped behind the scenes.
For the Halloween parade, though, she accepted the honor of grand marshal — a title usually bestowed on one person each year — and “had the pleasure of riding down Maple Avenue in the parade with her granddaughters,” according to the Vienna Business Association, which announced her death in an Aug. 19 tribute.
“For some reason, she and the Halloween parade clicked. D.H. was always synonymous with the Vienna Halloween Parade,” Georgen said.
Scarborough served in several iterations of Vienna’s business group, preached the importance of face-to-face connections, and kept a smile on her face.
Vienna Business Association Executive Director Peggy James recalls Scarborough as a nurturing mentor and friend who made pulling off events that sometimes went as long as 15 hours more manageable.
“She understood that…the most important thing you can do is show up for others,” James said, noting that Scarborough was a regular at ribbon-cutting and grand opening events.
Scarborough also collected money for the Town of Vienna’s annual Oktoberfest, and when teased that she needed protection or security, she would adamantly reassure others, “I don’t need a security guard.”
“She loved being around people and being part of the team who had brought joy to all those attending,” friend Mike Davis wrote. “D.H. was a wonderful, caring person and she will be missed in Vienna for a very long time to come.”
She retired in 2018 and was later diagnosed with cancer, but Georgen notes her former business partner was still able to return to her accounting practice when needed, and the firm will continue to bear her name.
A memorial service for Scarborough will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 27) at the Vienna Presbyterian Church, according to her obituary. It will be followed by a Celebration of Life at the American Legion post in Vienna.
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