Barbara (Nolan) Rappaport



Bar Harbor

Barbara (Nolan) Rappaport of Bar Harbor died at the age of 97 on Feb. 28. Born in Detroit in 1923 and raised on Grosse Isle, Mich., Barbara Barclay Nolan was the daughter of Elizabeth Williamson Nolan and John Nolan. Barbara attended Wellesley College (Class of 1944), and during breaks drove in the American Red Cross motor pool. As a sophomore, she was recruited by professors for weekly meetings to practice cryptography. She received additional training as a cryptanalyst and served in the WAVES. She was part of a Navy code-breaking unit located in Washington, D.C., completing active duty in 1946.

After the war, Barbara pursued graduate studies in botany at the University of Michigan. In a soil microbiology course, she met her future husband, Raymond Rappaport. At the time of his death in 2010, they had been married 63 years and research collaborators for decades. In 1948, Barbara conducted research at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), an experience that shaped their lives. Like so many others, they fell in love with the beauty and community of MDI. For the next 40 years Barbara and Ray spent summers on MDI doing research until they retired to Bar Harbor in 1989 to conduct research year-round. Barbara was modest about her role in the scientific collaboration; in a 1996 publication, “Cytokinesis in Animal Cells,” Ray wrote: This book is dedicated to Barbara Nolan Rappaport, who made it all possible, but declined co-authorship.

Barbara’s family includes Peter and Terri Rappaport of Bar Harbor, Jean Rappaport and John Dargis of Bar Harbor and Ann Rappaport of Wayland, Mass., and Bar Harbor. Grandchildren are Chloe Dargis, Stower Beals, Booth Dargis, Eliot Beals, Erin Owen and Cassie Fisher. Great-grandchildren are Liam Owen, Alec Owen, Jaden Dougher, Lena Dougher, Elaine Beals, Raymond Beals and Leo Dargis. Barbara was an ardent supporter of many island organizations; donations in her memory may be made to the MDI YMCA, the Jesup Memorial Library or the MDIBL.

Know when to pay your respects.