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Virginia Wayne Talbot Harbaugh was born on December 15, 1930 in Savannah, Georgia. She grew up in Darien, Connecticut. She attended and graduated Smith College in 1952 and moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a research analyst for the National Security Agency. There she met William Harbaugh, who was doing research in the Library of Congress archives for his history dissertation. They married in 1953 and moved to the University of Connecticut, where he taught history and she worked in the library until the birth of her first child.
After her youngest child entered the school system, she joined the University of Virginia’s master’s program in planning and urban design. She graduated in 1971 and soon joined the newly formed Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission where she later became Executive Director. She was the first woman to lead a planning district commission in Virginia, helped establish the first Metropolitan Planning Organization in the Charlottesville-Albemarle Urban Area, and was also its first planner. The Virginia Women’s Forum named her Woman of the Year in 1982.
Her obituary stated that "she believed in the power of government to do good, and felt privileged to have known planners, government officials, and citizens who worked together to form regional agencies for housing, libraries, health and mental health, and for the aging." 
She retired in 1986 and taught transportation planning for two years at UVA and Virginia Commonwealth University.
At one of her last presentations to the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, she asked for Albemarle County to support the work of the TJPDC. 
- Web. Virginia Wayne Talbot Harbaugh, retrieved May 26, 2019.
- Web. County of Albemarle, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Minutes, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, Albemarle County, April 2, 1986, retrieved May 26, 2019.