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Bernard "Barney" Rapp '70 March 26, 2024 6:07 PM updated: March 26, 2024 6:31 PM

Bernard James "Barney" Rapp 

October 30, 1947 - March 8, 2024 

Bernard James “Barney” Rapp peacefully passed away on Friday, March 8, 2024 in Houston, with his loving wife and children by his side. He was first diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma in April, 2009 and lived with the disease due to being placed in a clinical trial that was successful for 13 years when he relapsed in 2022. He was again able to fight it with new drugs until recently. He always liked knowing that his clinical trial drug, now approved by the FDA and commonly prescribed to lymphoma and leukemia patients, will continue to help countless people in the future.

Barney was the middle child of five children born to Raymond R. Rapp, Jr. and Helene Brynston Rapp in Galveston on October 30, 1947. His family were multi-generational Galvestonians, coming to the Island in 1851.

Barney was a life-long devout Catholic who attended Sacred Heart School and later graduated in the 1966 Kirwin High School class. Barney and his wife, Peggy, were high school sweethearts and the Rapp and McNeel families were lifelong friends. He and many of his classmates have remained close friends throughout the years. Sports and athletics have always been an important part of his life, Barney played left guard on the Kirwin Football Team with his brother, Gary, playing right guard.

Barney then attended and graduated from Texas A&M University ’70 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He and Peggy McNeel married on May 29, 1970 and settled in Galveston, ready to begin their life together. Prior to having children, Barney and a group of friends formed the “Lindale Bombers” – a baseball team that played every Sunday. They would continue to play, only ending each week when it became too hot, they became too tired, or there would be a disagreement over a call! The City of Galveston placed a plaque in honor of the Lindale Bombers at Lindale Park.

Soon, Barney and Peggy were happy to welcome Brian Joseph Rapp and Erin Colette Rapp and Barney truly loved being a dad to them. Barney loved the children’s accomplishments but, even more so, proud of the loving, kind, and successful people they are today. Barney enjoyed a very close and unique relationship with both of the children and they each had their special closeness and shared interests with him.

Barney always felt that his greatest legacy was his children and their spouses and his grandchildren. Brian is married to Veronica Gonzalez Rapp and Erin is married to Lorenzo Concarella. During Barney’s illness, it was touching to witness the care and love that they all showed their Pop. Also, Veronica and Lorenzo provided unconditional support and love to their spouses during this most difficult time. Barney was always thankful that the grandchildren, Melanie, Matthew, and Madison lived just eight houses down the street from their home in Friendswood. They, too, were a great source of joy to him and he also had a special bond with his grand-dog, Luigi.

In 1978, after working in real estate development, Barney opened his own successful real estate brokerage firm, Barney Rapp, Inc, which continued until he retired in 2023. In 1986, he and Peggy moved to the 1703 Broadway location with the children. The family lived above the business while the children grew up and learned to appreciate hard work and ethical business practices. During the day, the house was full of agents and staff and it was a fun and active existence. After hours, the house was busy with the children’s friends and activities. Barney loved the Broadway house and the homes in the Galveston Historical District. He took meticulous care of the home and also all of his clients and customers.

Barney has always had a great interest in the 1960’s Yankees Baseball and attended the Mickey Mantle-Whitey Ford Fantasy Camp for 23 years. He had enjoyed a friendship with Mickey and Whitey, as well as Moose Skowron, Yogi Berra, Frank Howard, Tony Kubec, and Jake Gibbs. He also developed some close friendships with the other campers and many of them would travel together during the summers to see a number of Yankee games in various parks around the country as well as visiting Tony and Jake.

Barney was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Galveston and attended Sacred Heart Church. He was also a member of numerous real estate organizations, and the Sons of the Republic of Texas. He was a member of the St. Mary’s Children’s Relief Fund benefiting Catholic schools in Galveston County, a board position that was passed down from his great-grandfather, and a member of Knights of Momus. He was also a two-time President of the Galveston Association of Realtors (GAR). During both terms, hurricanes visited the Island, so he decided that he would never be President again. Three times he served as Chairman of GAR MLS and was honored to be presented with GAR’s “Joseph L. Schlankey Outstanding Service Award.”

Barney was pre-deceased by his grandparents, Raymond R. Rapp, Sr. and Edith Reybaud Rapp, Gustav Brynston and Nettie Sigrid Johnson Brynston, parents, Raymond R. Rapp, Jr. and Helene Brynston Rapp, his brother, Donald Gustav Rapp, and sister, Madeline Ann Rapp Newcomb. He was also pre-deceased by his in-laws, Synott Lance McNeel and Evelyn Schoenberg McNeel and sister-in-law, Linea McNeel, MD.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy McNeel Rapp, of 53 years and his children Brian Joseph Rapp (Veronica) of Friendswood and Erin Rapp Concarella (Lorenzo) of Alvin, grandchildren, Melanie Deniz Rapp, Matthew Donovan Rapp and Madison Danielle Rapp, brothers Gary Raymond Rapp (Kathleen) of Colorado Springs and John Thomas Rapp (Carolyn) of League City as well as his uncle Thomas Louis Rapp of Dickinson. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Mary Ann Rapp of Houston, brother-in-law Rick Newcomb of St. Petersburg, Fl, brother-in-law Synott Lance McNeel, Jr. (Liz) of Houston and sister-in-law Kathleen McNeel Kyle (Ernie) of League City as well as a number of cousins and nieces and nephews.

The funeral arrangements are being arranged by Malloy & Son Funeral Home with the viewing taking place on Monday, March 18, 2024 at 10 am, Rosary at 11:30 am, and the funeral Mass at noon all at Sacred Heart Church on 14th and Broadway in Galveston. A private family burial at Galveston Memorial Park will take place at a later date.

Pallbearers will include Wayne Maxwell, John Bember, Bill Hagland, DVM, Paul Daulong, Raymond Pierson, and Mike Miller. Honorary Pallbearers will include Tony Kubek, Jake Gibbs, Randall Swearingen, Mike Peck and Marc Shabot, MD.

The family would like to thank the doctors and medical staff at MD Anderson, including Nathan Fowler, MD and Nurse Maria Badillo, who provided care for Barney for 14 years, and Preetesh Jain, MD. In addition, thank you to Michael T. Nguyen, MD (UTMB).

In lieu of flowers, donation suggestions include Halo House Foundation, 2940 Corder St., Houston, TX 77054; National Baseball Hall of Fame, 25 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or MD Anderson Blood Bank, 2555 Holly Hall, Houston, TX 77054.


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