Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA



March 12, 1923March 20, 2020

Robert Henry Scarborough, Jr. (March 12, 1923-March 20, 2020) of Arlington, Virginia, was a retired Vice Admiral in the United States Coast Guard. He died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland, and was suffering from esophageal cancer.

Vice Admiral Scarborough became the thirteenth officer to hold the post as second in command of one of the United States’ five armed forces on July 1, 1978 under President Carter, a distant relative and boyhood acquaintance, and continued in his post under President Ronald Regan until 1982. After retiring from service in 1982, he was unusual and fortunate in that the length of retirement – 38 years – matched the length of his military career.

“Bobby” was the youngest of four children of Robert Henry and Janet Augusta Burton Scarborough and was born in Hawkinsville, Georgia attended Toccoa High School and then graduated from Hawkinsville, High School after completing the 11th grade in 1940. He was a student body president, and he attributed his success in student government to his idea of organizing a class bus trip for his classmates to Washington, D. C., a novelty in the post-Great Depression south. In adulthood, he was known as “Bob” to his colleagues, many friends, and even to his grandchildren.

Robert Scarborough matriculated at North Georgia Military College (since renamed North Georgia University) in Dahlonega, Georgia, and then graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (“Kings Point”) in 1944. Admiral Scarborough was a 1963 graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and a 1971 graduate of the National War College. He also earned a Bachelor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Hawaii, as well as a Master of Science Degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honorary fraternity. He had held the position as Executive Director of the Navy League and had been a very active member of the USMMA Alumni Association Government Affairs Committee.

Following graduation from the Academy in 1944, Admiral Scarborough had an unprecedented career. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy Reserve as well as in the US Maritime Service. He sailed in all deck offer capacities during the latter stages of World War II up through Chief Officer, obtaining his Master’s license in less than four years. This was followed by impressive active duty service in both the Navy and Coast Guard. Admiral Scarborough entered the Coast Guard in 1949 following service as an officer in the Navy aboard a destroyer.


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have a memory or condolence to add?

Paul Prokop

April 6, 2020

I got to know VADM Scarborough while assisting him with his disability application at the time of his retirement. He was a consumate gentleman who ultimately became a valued acquaintance and mentor for my wife and me. To this day, I value our friendship. RIP VADM S.


April 4, 2020

I admired and respected Bob Scarborough and appreciated his friendship. We worked together in support of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and his contributions were invaluable. He was outgoing and fun to be with and could be relied upon for good advice and counsel. I will miss our annual exchange of Christmas greetings and will remember him fondly.

My condolences to Rene and the family.

Thomas Baker, CWO, USCG, (ret)

April 3, 2020

The San Diego Chief Petty Officers Association sends our thoughts and prayers to the friends, family, and shipmates of Vice Admiral Scarborough. May he rest in peace.