Leesburg, Loudoun County Political Leader Frank Raflo Dies at 89

Frank Raflo was mayor of Leesburg and a longtime county supervisor.
Frank Raflo was mayor of Leesburg and a longtime county supervisor. (1997 Photo By John C. Garofalo -- The Washington Post)
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By Erica Garman
loudounextra.com Staff Writer
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frank Raflo, a former Leesburg mayor and Loudoun County Board of Supervisors chairman who was also a prominent retailer, journalist and historian, died Sunday at age 89.

Raflo, a Leesburg native, could often be seen around town sporting his signature red suspenders and paisley bow tie.

He was born in 1919 in a second-floor apartment on King Street, across from the Leesburg Restaurant. He attended Loudoun County public schools, graduated from the College of William and Mary and married his high school sweetheart, Frances Atwell.

In addition to owning dress shops in Leesburg and Sterling, co-founding the Leesburg Kiwanis Club and writing two books on Leesburg history, Raflo was involved in Loudoun politics. He served as Leesburg mayor from 1961 to 1963, was on the Board of Supervisors from 1972 to 1986 and was board chairman in 1985.

As mayor, Raflo appointed Leesburg's first town manager, and as a member of the Board of Supervisors, he helped draft the county's first comprehensive land-use plan.

Raflo was involved in the media as well. He was editor of the now-defunct Loudoun News, hosted radio and cable TV shows and wrote columns for the Loudoun Times-Mirror and Leesburg Today.

In April 1997, the former South Harrison Street Park near the Town Branch Creek in Leesburg was renamed Raflo Park in his honor.

Raflo is survived by his wife, sons Paul and Alan, a grandson and three great-grandchildren. A daughter, Jo Raflo, and a son, Philip, have died.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Congregation Sha'are Shalom in Leesburg.

In lieu of flowers, Raflo's family requests that memorial donations be sent to the Leesburg Kiwanis, attention Bob Wright, P.O. Box 445, Leesburg, Va. 20178; to the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 70, Leesburg, Va. 20178; or to Capital Hospice, 209 Gibson St. NW, Suite 202, Leesburg, Va. 20176.

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