Margot Lind. Credit: Laura McGlynn

A peacemaker at heart, Margot was able to enter a room where everyone was busy arguing and get along with all sides. Her sense of humor helped her instantly break the ice at work and her one-liners were worthy of the Comedy Channel. Margot died at age 78 on July 12 of complications from kidney failure.

Although she lived for a few years in other parts of the East Bay, Berkeley and the Elmwood neighborhood were the center of a life that focused on her children, Jonathan and Elizabeth, and grandchildren in London and the State of Oaxaca in Mexico. 

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1944 to Carlene and George Lind, she was the eldest of five children. She grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. After graduating from the Barstow School, she moved to California in 1962 to attend Mills College in Oakland. She graduated in 1966 with a degree in American Civilization. The West Coast lifestyle suited her, and she never left.

Margot was a talented editor, writer and office manager. One of her first jobs was at San Francisco-based Ramparts magazine during its muckraking heyday; later she was a core part of the team for the Berkeley-based Parents Press. As the Bay Area’s economy evolved, she adapted along with it, moving into the tech sector where she served as product manager, office manager and general trouble shooter for a series of software companies and tech startups before retiring in 2018.

As an editor, she worked closely with Berkeley’s Burl Willes, editing his popular book Tales from the Elmwood: A Community Memory. She co-wrote the 1975 book The California Catalogue with her former husband, Roger Rapoport, the result of research carried out during trips around the state while their infant son Jonathan rode along in his car seat.

Margot was an active volunteer for a number of local organizations. She had a particular passion for historic preservation. She was a long-time member of the Berkeley Historical Society, of which she was co-president for a period, and a member of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. In the 1980s, Margot was a central figure in the Bateman Neighborhood Association and the successful Save the Elmwood campaign. She and other preservationists successfully protected local College Avenue merchants from an invasion of chain merchants.  Among their success stories was saving the historic Elmwood Theater. Margot’s voluntary work also included a longtime weekly shift at the Berkeley Free Clinic.

She had a lifelong love of traveling and exploring. She regularly went on day and overnight trips on the weekends with her family to historic and cultural sites as well as natural areas in the Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California. She was always eager to learn more about the places she visited, whether it was a historic site in the California Gold Country, a town along the Northern California Coast or a museum in San Francisco. She enjoyed taking her family on many trips to Denver to visit her parents as well as her siblings and their families. She also enjoyed numerous family vacations to destinations throughout California and elsewhere in the American West and Hawaii.

Margot Lind with her children, Jonathan and Elizabeth, in 2021. Credit: Leah Wilson

Margot was a loving mother and doting grandmother whose gifts and care packages were eagerly awaited by her grandchildren in Mexico and London. She was an active participant in the upbringing of her grandchildren in Mexico, who she visited annually at their family home and ranch in a Zapotec indigenous village in a rural area of the State of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. She loved traveling around Oaxaca with her grandchildren to destinations including the historic colonial capital and the tropical Pacific Coast. Thanks to her support and encouragement, her eldest grandchild, Floriana Rapoport Flores, graduated college with a degree in forensic science and is now working at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an agency of the Organization of American States.

In her later years she was a regular visitor to the East Bay Regional Parks, the Berkeley Marina and the shoreline of West Contra Costa County, where she liked to walk and picnic with her son Jonathan.

She spent most of her last months at her home in Berkeley with her family visiting her and helping her. She loved Berkeley and California. Margot liked to say, “California is where God would want to live if he had the money.”

Margot is survived by her two children, Jonathan and Elizabeth Rapoport; her siblings, Liz Lind, Georganne Foss, Anna Shughart and George Lind; her London grandchildren, Anabelle, Theodore and Georgia Airey; and her grandchildren in Mexico, Floriana Rapoport Flores and Jonathan Jorge Rapoport Flores, as well as their two half-sisters who she loved as her own grandchildren, Margarita Flores and Carolina Flores.

A celebration of life will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Veterans Memorial Building located at 1931 Center St. in Berkeley.