The Barrington community lost one of its beloved business owners this weekend with the sudden passing of Roberta Rapata, co-owner of Boloney’s Sandwich Shop and The Catlow Theater. A makeshift memorial outside the entrance to Boloney’s continues to grow, with a colorful collection of flowers, balloons, lighted candles and cards spilling out onto the sidewalk.
We will deeply miss Roberta’s unmistakable sweet voice, warm way and constant, kind presence. It’s heartbreaking as a community to lose someone you’ve come to count on always being there, in person and as that familiar voice on the other end of the phone.
Without Roberta we will all feel a void, like a big part of Main Street is missing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Roberta’s fiancé and business partner, Tim O’Connor, and all of her family and friends. We will forever treasure the businesses Roberta has helped build which both represent the time-tested heart and soul of downtown Barrington.
Liz Bremner who owns the Barrington Flower Shop near the Catlow on Main Street is as shocked and sad as the rest of us and shared this when we spoke this morning.
“If Roberta had somebody eating at Boloneys that she knew had a loved one in hospice or had some special event happening in their life, she would always call up and ask me to bring down a bouquet of flowers to give to them. She was the kindest, most generous person I’ve ever met in my life.”
Here are some of the other comments people have shared on Facebook since Roberta’s passing:
“This is a heart-breaker – we have been Boloney’s addicts for 20+yrs and Roberta was a beacon of happiness and smiles every-time we went to the best sandwich shop on the planet. She will be missed by so many.” – Patrick
“I’ve been coming to Boloney’s since the 80’s and I will really miss her sweet smile. She was an icon.” – Mary
“Roberta was always a ray of sunshine with a personal greeting and smile for each every one!! She will be sooooo missed!!!!” – Sharon
“Roberta was truly the kindest woman – never, ever saw her without a smile on her face.” – Sue
“I will miss Roberta immeasurably. You see, Catlow is not just a movie theater. No! Catlow is a place where people of our small community gather to have a common experience. People leave the Catlow talking to their friends about the film and Roberta would be there, anxiously asking if we liked the movie. When we’d say we did, she would sparkle and her broad and genuine smile of satisfaction is something that repetition has now permanently imprinted in my brain. These small moments build up the “culture” of the village… I thank you Roberta, for having added so much to the beat of the community. We will celebrate your life by doing what you wanted us to do; watching movies together, talking about them on the way out and enjoying your food and “almost famous” popcorn. And …we will try to soothe Tim from what must be an un-fillable void.” – Nick
“Boloney’s was a wonderful place to work. Roberta was always laughing and joking in the back as she built those sky scraping sandwiches and I was always a little bit jealous that I was stuck out front. I remember Roberta smiling one night and telling me that she would be the best boss I ever had. She wasn’t wrong. Roberta and Tim built an amazing community around Boloney’s and the Catlow, and that will stand the test of time.” – Kathleen
“It’s true that heaven gained an angel this past weekend. I imagine heaven is now full of a lot more laughs (and sandwiches) thanks to Roberta. Thank you for everything Boss, I’ll never forget you.” – Lauren
“Thank you Roberta for keeping the beauty of Barrington preserved. May your family know God’s love and peace during this time.” – Mark
According to the DuPage County coroner’s office, Rapata suffered a heart attack early Sunday morning and was rushed to Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights where she passed away at about 3:30 a.m.
A message shared Monday on the Catlow’s Facebook page reads, “Sorry I haven’t had time to thank everyone for all the outpouring of love and affection you’ve shown for Roberta – and the flowers you’re leaving in front of Boloney’s. I’m sure she’s looking down in amazement at how appreciated she was by all of you. I’ll try to thank you all personally when things settle down, but just know that you have my sincere thanks, love and gratitude. You’ve really helped to ease the pain of her passing. Thank you again. We plan to keep Boloney’s going because she would have INSISTED that we do that. So give us some time to regroup and I’ll keep you informed. Catlow will open Friday with Jason Bourne.”
Roberta’s visitation will be Wednesday, August 31, from 4 PM until 9 PM at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 149 W. Main Street (Lake-Cook Rd) Barrington, IL 60010. Visitation will continue on Thursday, September 1, from 10 AM until the 11 AM Funeral Mass at St. Anne Catholic Church, 120 N. Ela St. (Corner of Franklin and Ela Sts.), Barrington.
Here’s an excerpt from Roberta’s obituary:
Roberta Natalie Rapata
June 9, 1959 – August 28, 2016
Roberta Rapata, 57, of Bloomingdale, passed away unexpectedly on August 28, 2016. She was born on June 9, 1959 in Chicago to Emanuel “Bud” and Lorraine (nee Kosac) Rapata.
Roberta was the co-owner of Boloney’s Sandwich Shop and The Catlow Theater in Barrington since 1981 and 1988 respectively. She was an animal lover, loved shopping, enjoyed her family and friends and loved her employees like family. She loved and cared for everyone that came through the door of both businesses.
Roberta will be deeply missed by her loving fiancé, Tim O’Connor; siblings, Jacqueline, Dennis (Denise) Rapata, Donna (Robert) Krilich, Garry, and Chris (Devon Bailey) Rapata; her constant companion and best furry friend, Gizmo. She was loved like a sister and daughter by the entire O’Connor Family. She was preceded in death by her parents.