HADLEY - Elaine Rappaport Barkin, an extraordinary and courageous woman of enormous spirit, died at the age of 100 Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 14, 1913, and schooled in Brooklyn at the Adelphi Academy, she graduated from Smith College in 1933 and earned her master's in social work in 1935 from the Smith College School for Social Work.
She worked at the Jewish Board of Guardians (JBG) where, in 1942, she job-shared her work on delinquency and family problems, and also represented the New York Jewish agencies in the court system. After leaving the JBG, she worked for the Child Adoption Committee. Later, she focused on career counseling, psychotherapy, and geriatric services.
She was appointed to boards that looked at the needs of elders throughout Massachusetts, including one at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She served on the first board of the Franklin County Home Care for 25 years and represented her community during this time. In addition, she was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to be one of six national ombudsmen on the Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators, a position she held for a number of years.
She married Solomon Barkin in 1940, a prominent labor economist, and enjoyed his companionship for almost 60 years. The family lived in Manhattan, Great Neck, N.Y., and Paris, France, where her husband was in the diplomatic corps assigned to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The family returned to live in Leverett, where her husband had a tenured professorship in the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Survivors include her three children, David, Roger, and Amy; three grandsons, Adam, Michael and Benjamin, and two great-grandsons, Jacob and Eli; and a large circle of friends.
Elaine was a feisty, dedicated, socially active and colorful woman who remained mentally alert until her death. She had a life-long love of learning and appetite for life. Up until her last days she took courses in the local Five College Learning in Retirement program. She was a lover of opera, music, theatre, bridge, gourmet cooking, reading and travel.
She will be remembered as a deeply loving mother, a generous and devoted friend and confidant, a "bon vivant," an extraordinary listener and advisor to the young (and not so young), a hostess, an eternal optimist, a "raconteuse extraordinaire," and a role model for graceful aging. She was a kind and selfless person, beloved by all she met. She brightened the lives of those she touched and left footprints on our hearts, and we will never be the same. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: The Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Roseann Martoccia, Executive Director, 330 Montague City Road, Suite 1 Turners Falls, 01376.
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