About Us | Scarborough & Hargett Celebration of Life Center, Inc.

History & Staff

                   "A Dignified Service In A Sympathetic Way"
                     Five Generations...........Since 1871

Our History

Over one hundred and forty years ago a grocer by the name of J.C. Hargett started a funeral home in Kinston N.C. Word spread throughout the community of caring services he provided to Black Families. Also during this time a young man by the name of John Clarence Scarborough came to work for Mr. Hargett his strong work ethic and dedication to families he served stood out in the community.
 
After the Civil War, Kinston became an industrial center. Its economic growth attracted many former slaves looking for work and willing to start businesses to serve the increasing town’s population. One was grocer J.C. Hargett, who sponsored Scarborough’s education at Kittrell Business College and provided capital for him to start a funeral home in 1905. Scarborough traveled to New York City and enrolled in Reounard Training School for Embalmers. He was the only black student enrolled at the Reounard Training School.

After graduation, Mr. Scarborough established his funeral home in Durham’s African American community. He befriended business leaders at the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and at St. Joseph African Methodist Episcopal Church. In short time, Scarborough’s business flourished, and in time, he became a leader in his industry and in other businesses; he founded the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association of North Carolina and served as a director of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, the oldest Black owned bank in the south.

Economic success enabled Scarborough’s philanthropy. His benevolent capstone was the Scarborough Nursery Home. In 1925, he built a school that provided proper nourishment and offered educational opportunities to Durham’s most impoverished. The institution helped alleviate poverty and improved health conditions in the African American community. The school’s original philosophy, according to its current Web site, is that “every child has the right to an environment that promotes his physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social growth so that he may develop to his fullest potential at his own rate.” The Scarborough Nursery School, Inc. is the states oldest licensed nursery school.

Today, John C. “Skeepie” Scarborough, III is the son of the late John C. Scarborough, Jr. and Hattie Strong Scarborough and the grandson of John C. Scarborough, Sr. and Daisy E. Hargett Scarborough. She was the daughter of Joseph C. Hargett, founder of the funeral home. J.C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III has been an integral part of the administration of the business his entire adult life. The company's leaders, representing four generations have been: J.C. Scarborough, Sr.; J.C. Scarborough, Jr.; Mrs. Ernestine Hargett Scarborough-Bynum (the daughter of J.C. Scarborough, Sr.); J.C. Scarborough, III and Queen Marable Bass Scarborough (the wife of J.C. Scarborough, III).



Our Valued Staff

Mr. John Clarence Scarborough III

Mr. John Clarence Scarborough III, President/CEO

John Clarence "Skeepie" Scarborough, Ill, is a native of Durham, North Carolina. He is the fourth generation member of the Scarborough family to lead the legendary Scarborough and Hargett Funeral Home. Joseph Crooms Hargett became the founder of J.C. Hargett General Store and undertaker in Kinston, N.C. in 1871. In 1888, Joseph Crooms Hargett, father-in-law formed a partnership with John Clarence Scarborough, Sr., son-in-law as Scarborough and Hargett Undertakers. The Company moved to Durham in 1900 and has been providing services to African American families continuously for the past 118 years. Its long- I standing motto: "A Dignified Service in a Sympathetic Way," I epitomizes the pride felt by the Black community when Scarborough and Hargett opened its doors. J.C. "Skeepie," III has embraced this motto as a guiding principle in all of his professional, business, civic, and social endeavors.

"Skeepie" Scarborough is the son of the late John C. Scarborough, Jr., and Hattie Strong Scarborough and the grandson of John C. Scarborough, Sr., and Daisy E. Hargett Scarborough, the daughter of Joseph C. Hargett, co-founder of the funeral home. J.C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III has been an integral part of the administration of the business his entire adult life. The company's leaders, representing four generations, have been: J.C. Scarborough, Sr.; J.C. Scarborough, Jr.; Mrs. Ernestine Hargett Scarborough-Bynum (the daughter of J:C. Scarborough, Sr.); and J.C. Scarborough, III.

J.C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III completed his elementary education at Whitted Elementary School, the building which later became Hillside High School. He attended Hillside High School for a short seven weeks and then enrolled at Westtown Prep School, 1952-55, in Westtown, Pennsylvania, a secondary residential school associated with Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University) in Cheyney, Penn. Cheyney University' is the oldest HBCU (Historically. Black Colleges and Universities) founded in 1837 by Richard Humphrey. "Skeepie" completed his high school education in 1956, after transferring to Palmer Memorial Institute, the historical secondary residential school founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown in Sedalia, North Carolina located in Guilford County. He began his college education at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (1956195 . He transferred to North Carolina Central University to complete his undergraduate education. He graduated from NCCU in 1960 with the Bachelor of Science degree. He continued his education at Eckels College of Mortuary Science, an affiliate branch of Temple University, from which he graduated in 1961.

His forty-five year tenure as an official in the family company began in 1961. He served as Assistant Manager of the business until he became President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Scarborough and Hargett Funeral Home, Inc. Memorial Chapels and Gardens. Inc., in 1972. Along the way, his vision, leadership, and insight played a significant role in maintaining the funeral home's reputation as a leading company in the mortuary business at the local, state, and national levels. Beyond his involvement at the local level, he has achieved prominence among his professional peers having been selected as "Professional of the Year" both at the state and national levels. He also has been elected National President of the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association and Chairman of the National of this professional organization n.

J.C. Scarborough, III, is from a long line of outstanding trailblazers and pioneers who have served their communities with dedication and compassion. He was the first African American to serve on the State of North Carolina Ambulance Board. In 1968, he became the youngest individual ever elected as "Lay Member" of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, Inc. Also in 1968, at the age of 30 years, he became a candidate in the Democratic Primary for election to a seat on Durham County Board of Commissioners.

Scarborough, III, has an exemplary record of public service, which is reflective of his many present and former volunteer; memberships and leadership positions on boards and associations. Some, though, not member inclusive of all are: Board of Directors, Mechanics and Farmers Carolina Bank; Board of Directors, St. Alumni Joseph's Heritage Foundation; Board of Directors, Daisy E. Scarborough Homes, ' Inc.; Executive Committee, realization Occheneechee Council, Boy Scouts of America; Board of Directors, , WAFER Radio Station; Human Relations Committee, Durham Chamber of Commerce; Vice Chairman, Recreation Advisory Board, City and County of Durham; Board of Directors, , NCCU Foundation; Advisory Board of Directors, Operation Breakthrough; Board of Directors, ; Durham Business and Profession Chain; Board of Directors, John Avery Boys' and Girls' Club; , Board of Directors, Durham YMCA; Board of Directors, United Durham, Inc.; Assistant Boy Scout Master, Troop #105; Assistant Explorer Advisor, Boy Scouts of America, St. Joseph's AME Church; and Chairman of Junior Steward Board, and Assistant Vice Chairman of Steward Board, St. Joseph's AME Church.

"Skeepie" Scarborough's love and life-long commitment to his community; city, county, and state are exemplary of his active participation in civic, fraternal and professional organizations. He is a member of: Epsilon Nu Delta mortuary Fraternity; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; Mason Doric Lodge #28; Durham Consistory #218; Shrine Zafa #176; 33 Masonry and Alpha Tau Boule, Sigma Phi Pi Fraternity: He is a life member of the NAACP. He has been a life member of the North Carolina Central University Alumni Association since 1977.

This 2006 Honoree of the DCABP has given unselfishly of his time and talents toward the realization of the goals of the founding fathers of "The Durham Committee." He has been honored on numerous occasions; yet, he has remained a "down to earth" public servant with total respect for all humanity. A number of the awards he has received are: the "SPIRIT OF HAYTI" Legacy Award in 2005; the UDI Certificate Appreciation in 1998 for Devoted and Dedicated Service; the District Award of Merit for Boy Scouts of America Inc in 2005; and the Certificate of Appreciation, National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Durham Section in 2001-2002.

John C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III has been a member of St. Joseph's AME Church for sixty AME two years. He is married to Queen Marble Bass-Scarborough and they have two children, J.C. "Scottie" Scarborough, IV and Tonya Colleen and three grandchildren.

John C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III has exhibited talents, skills, and a personality that conveyed love, caring, grace and compassion and the Durham Committee is proud to pay a most deserved tribute to Durhams Native son.


Mrs. Queen M.B. Scarborough

Mrs. Queen M.B. Scarborough, Vice President/COO

Queen Marable Bass Scarborough was encouraged by her husband John Clarence “Skeepie” Scarborough, III, the 36th Past President of the NFD&MA from 1982-1983, to become involved in the funeral service industry. So, as a result, she is a licensed funeral directress and Vice President of Scarborough and Hargett Funeral Home, Incorporated Memorial Chapel and Gardens

Upon graduation from college, Mrs. Scarborough was employed by the City of Durham in the Human Relations Department and as an Assistant in the first Public Relations Department for the City. Later, she became an Administrative Assistant at Duke University for the Vice President for Financial Affairs. Prior to becoming a funeral professional, Mrs. Scarborough’s long-term career was with the Durham Public School System. There, she held positions as a teacher, coordinator and principal. She began her educational career at Hillside High School and rose through the ranks to become Principal of James E. Shepard Magnet School (named after the founder of North Carolina Central University) where she assisted with the design of a Moot Courtroom (the only one in a middle school in the U.S.) and Fayetteville Street Lab School. Born in South Boston, Virginia and the second of four siblings to Joel and Retha Tucker Marable. She was educated in the Halifax County School System. In her ealy youth, she integrated the Halifax County School System, under the watchful eye of her late father. He and her mother continue to be her heroes and inspiration for dedication to duty, service to her community and commitment to worthy endeavors.

She holds both a B.S. and a M.S. degree in Business Administration from North Carolina Central University. In Business Education, she has completed thirty-three hours of course work towards a M.S. degree and has done post doctoral studies at North Carolina State University. In addition, she has completed the Principal Executive Program (PEP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years certification in Montezuma, New Mexico.

Mrs. Scarborough’s achievement have been celebrated and chronicled by organizations, agencies and institutions throughout the Durham community and the State of North Carolina. Among her many awards and recognitions are; Wachovia Principal of the Year, Administrator of the Year and Outstanding Young Woman of America. Also, she was the recipient of the “First Chancellor’s Merit Award (North Carolina Central University Dr. James Ammons). Under her leadership, her school was recognized by the department of Public Instruction as “One of the Top Most Improved Schools in North Carolina”. Additionally, she is the recipient of the State of North Carolina’s “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine” Award (Governor Michael Easley). This award is presented to individuals with a proven record of service to North Carolina and is the highest civilian award the Governor can present.

Professional affiliations include: Board of Directors of Lincoln Community Health Center, Board of Directors of United Campus Ministry (North Carolina Central University). Board of Directors of Daisy E. Scarborough Home, Inc., member of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, member of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, Inc., Member of Funeral Directors and Morticians Association of North Carolina, Member of Central District of the Funeral Directors and Mortician Association of North Carolina, Member of 100 Black Women in Funeral Service, Member of the Ladies Auxiliary (National and State), member of Awards Committee (National and State), Member of the Budget Committee, Member of the History Committee (National and State), Member of Public Relations Committee (National), Member of “First Ladies” Group, Life Member of NAACP, Life member of NCCU Alumni Association, Life member of National Council of Negro Women, Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Member of LINKS, Incorporated and President, Durham Chapter of Silhouettes.


  •  Staff from left to right: Andrew L. Nichoslon, Larry F. Moore, Terrell C. Bass, Queen M.B.  Scarborough, J.C. "Skeepie" Scarborough, III