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Jo Lee (Reid) Scarborough

Posted September 25, 2014 in Obituaries, West Des Moines

October 19, 1929 – September 22, 2014

Jo Lee Scarborough

Jo Lee Scarborough

Known for her signature style and love of the arts, Jo Lee Reid Scarborough, 84, passed away at Edgewater Skilled Care on September 22, 2014. A celebration of her life will be held 2 p.m. Friday, September 26, 2014 at Plymouth Congregational Church. Jo Lee’s family will be there to greet friends one hour prior to the service. A private family burial will be held at Resthaven Cemetery.

Jo Lee was born in Indianapolis, IN, on October 19, 1929 to Don and Dorothy Reid. She was a graduate of Valley High School and the School of Fine Arts at Drake University (summa cum laude). She married her high school sweetheart, T. R. (Bob) Scarborough, in l95l. They were inseparable throughout their lives.

Professionally, Jo Lee was co-publisher and feature writer for The West Des Moines Express, co-president of Rob Lee Hill Publishing, and co-president of Scarborough Investments. She authored the popular cooking and lifestyle column in the 1960s, “The Cook’s Nook.” In the 1980s she wrote the weekly column, “Here and There.”

The fine arts, especially music, were her distinct passion and she graciously contributed her time and talents. An accomplished soloist, she performed her original programs of Broadway classics throughout central Iowa. She was also a gifted speaker, showcased through her dramatic readings and animated book reviews.

Jo Lee served in leadership roles in many organizations. She was national editor of Cameo magazine for her professional speech fraternity, Zeta Phi Eta. She served as president of Des Moines Women’s Club. She was an active member of Plymouth Congregational Church, P.E.O., Des Moines Metropolitan Opera Guild, Sigma Alpha Iota (professional music fraternity) and Delta Gamma Sorority. She was also founding member and active participant in The Ray Society (lifelong learning at Drake University). She served on the board of directors of the Friends of Drake Arts.

Many friends enjoyed Jo Lee’s fine entertaining and were touched by her personal thank-you notes. She had extended knowledge of literature across varied disciplines, and she quoted her favorite passages in personal conversations and correspondence. Her most unique quality was her genuine interest and enthusiasm for others.

Jo Lee was devoted to her family, friends, and her dog, Anna. She is survived by her loving husband Bob of 63 years; daughter Shayla (Joel) From of West Des Moines; son Robert Scarborough Jr. of Glen Ellyn, IL; Patrice Scarborough of Wheaton, IL; grandchildren Justin (Tara) From, Andrew (Katie) From, Madeline Scarborough, and Isabelle Scarborough; sister-in-law Candice (Max) McMains; and other beloved extended family.

Her family would like to thank the staff at Edgewater Skilled Care, Wesley Life Hospice, and Caring Hearts for their tremendous care and support.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of Drake Arts, 2505 Carpenter Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311.

Information provided by:
McLarens Resthaven Chapel and Mortuary
801 19th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265

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