Don Robert Rapier, 89

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

RESTON, October 1 — Don Robert Rapier, 89, of Reston, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church. He was born in Van Buren, Arkansas to Bessie Elvira Rapier and Val Marquis Rapier on July 31, 1924.

A native of Van Buren, Arkansas, Mr. Rapier graduated from Van Buren High School and enlisted in the Navy Seabees shortly after the outbreak of WWII. He subsequently graduated with honors from Hampden-Sydney College and received his Master’s degree in administration from the University of Arkansas. His professional appearance began with two years teaching at his alma mater, in Van Buren High School, Arkansas.

After moving back to Virginia and teaching for one year at Bassett High School, he became an elementary school principle in Henry County for three years. In 1955 he accepted a position as instructor in Methods of Instruction with the Army Corp of Engineers at Fort Belvoir. After a year’s absence from the public educational field, he joined the McLean High School faculty as a math teacher. Throughout his career, Mr. Rapier has been a member of the VEA, NEA and his local association and has frequently been chosen to provide leadership in these organizations. From 1966-67, he served as president of the Fairfax Education Association.

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In 1971, Mr. Rapier became the first full time president of the Virginia Education Association. During the summer months, he pursued his hobby of building executive homes in Reston. He subsequently accepted a position as principle of Brookfield Elementary, Chantilly, where he served until his retirement in 1979. Afterwards he enjoyed traveling and spending time with his wife, Esther Rapier, until her death on August 24, 2011.

He is survived by a younger brother, Kent Edward Rapier and his wife, Sakae, as well as several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Bessie and Val, two brothers, Paul Val Rapier and Gayle Rapier and a sister, Juanita Bess Rapier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc., 2000 L. Street, NW, Suite 410, Washington, DC 20036 or the American Cancer Society, PO Box 23718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the Reston Hospital Center, The Virginian Continuing Care Retirement Community and to the Inova Fairfax Hospital for their support, kindness and gentle care in his final days.

A funeral service was held Sunday, September 29 at the Shorter Funeral Home with Pastor Rev. Michael Kendall officiating. The interment followed at the Worsham Baptist Church Cemetery.

A subsequent Celebration of Life Service will be held on October 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Everly Funeral Home, 10565 Main St., Fairfax, VA 22030.

Online Condolences may be left in Don’s online guest book at