Robert K. Scarborough, 88, who built thousands of homes in South Jersey, died of heart failure Thursday in the first home he built, a three-bedroom Cape Cod in Collingswood.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Scarborough constructed single-family homes in developments including Wedgewood, Wexford Leas, Kings Croft, Tavistock, Charter Oak, Barclay Farm, and Tenby Chase. In 1969 he built the townhouse complex Tenbytowne in Delran, and in the 1970s he built apartment complexes.
Mr. Scarborough, whose father was a lumber salesman, grew up in Collingswood and graduated from Collingswood High School, where he met his future wife, Olive Lafferty. They married in 1942.
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force as a flight instructor in Texas, then piloted B-17 bombers from an air strip in northern Italy.
After his discharge, he built his home in Collingswood, and in the postwar housing boom, built home additions and affordable single houses on available land in older towns in South Jersey.
In the early 1950s, he formed Scarborough Corp. to build housing on tracts of land. He had three partners: Jack Sansom, who handled financing; Walt Riley, who did marketing and sales; and Bill Feather, who dealt with contractors and utilities.
Mr. Scarborough was involved with design and building. Though he had no formal training, he was an excellent artist and draftsman, and could do miter cuts for trim freehand, his son Kevin said.
In 1963, Scarborough Corp. sold its 1,000th home at Barclay Farm. The "kitchen of tomorrow" in the development, with a wall oven, countertop range, dishwasher, garbage disposal, washer-dryer, and sliding glass doors to a terrace, was featured in American Builder Magazine.
When Mr. Scarborough wanted to extend the subdivision over a creek, he commissioned an architect to design a covered bridge wide enough for two-way traffic. The development had a residents-only swim club and Scarborough Corp. donated land to what is now Cherry Hill Township for an elementary school.
After Scarborough Corp. was sold to Weyerhauser Co. in 1974, Mr. Scarborough continued to work with the new owners for several years.
In 1982, he began developing a 19th-century paint-factory complex in Gibbsboro as a corporate park. "Our first idea was to develop the Paint Works as a warehousing and light industrial park," he told The Inquirer. "But as we began to discover what a beautiful setting we have, we gradually shifted more toward an office center."
Mr. Scarborough made the park's centerpiece a lily pad-filled lake with gazebos and a boardwalk from which children fished for bass. He continued to develop the Paint Works until retiring in the 1990s, his son said.
Mr. Scarborough was a member of the Haddonfield Rotary and the South Jersey Builders League. For more than 30 years he served on the board of West Jersey Hospital.
In addition to his son, Mr. Scarborough is survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His wife died in 2004 and a son, Randy, died in 2009.
A funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Blake-Doyle Funeral Home, 226 Collings Ave., Collingswood. Friends may call from 9. Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery, Pennsauken.
Donations may be made to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia 19104.