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Obituary: James R. Nolan, former Antioch Professor

James R. Nolan, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., died peacefully on Nov. 6, 2011, with his family at his side in Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y. He was born in New York City, May 8, 1923, to John B. and Mary Kate (Mealy) Nolan. In his youth, he was a member of the Acme Wheelman Bicycle Club and raced both track and cross-country. He was proud of his service in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building bridges and public works projects in Oregon and Washington. He worked as a freelance graphic artist in New York City and as a porter at ""Chock Full O' Nuts"" luncheonette. There the young dishwasher met the beautiful waitress and love of his life, Marta Bassoi. During World War II, they wrote every day as Jim served his country in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theatre. Jim and Marta were married Feb. 3, 1946. He continued his arts career working at BBD&O (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, the most awarded advertising agency in the world) in New York City as a graphic designer, specializing in calligraphy. Jim was a practical dreamer with incredible perseverance. To fulfill his lifelong goal to work within the natural sciences, he first obtained his high school diploma at age 32, then attended Columbia University, while working full time and raising his three daughters with Marta. They resided in Peekskill, N.Y., and Jim commuted daily to New York City. The family moved to Ithaca, N.Y., where Jim entered Cornell University, where he earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. He then accepted a job teaching botany and biology at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He continued his career as a scientific researcher and professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, N.Y., from 1967 until his retirement in 1985. He specialized in plant morphology and genetics. While at SUNY he also taught calligraphy, drawing upon his years as a professional graphic artist. He owned and operated Nolan's Phyton Press, using an antique printing press to hand-create invitations, newsletters, announcements and commemoratives. In later years, he switched to using Mac computers for design, with an astounding grasp of and interest in technology well into his 80s. He loved living in the Adirondacks and spent many happy hours canoeing, fly fishing and hiking with family and friends. He participated in civic and social organizations, including The Italian-American Club and Trout Unlimited. He was a member of the scientific groups the Linnean Society and the Bryonet Forum. Jim was a loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather and beloved Uncle Jimmy to the extended family and friends. He was admired and adored by his family and a true friend and colleague to many in all walks of life. He loved all kinds of music and had an unbounded fascination with many eclectic subjects. He was a true Renaissance man, spurred by his wondrous curiosity and strong work ethic. He was known for his handmade (by him) bolo ties, his encyclopedic knowledge and spontaneous singing and storytelling. He is survived by his beautiful bride of 65 years, Marta (Bassoi) Nolan; his three daughters, Patricia Nolan, Liesa Betsy (Paul) Pedersen, Teresa (Kurt) Barensfeld; his three grandchildren, Tyrone James Coughlin, Marta Lenore Barensfeld, and Owen Paul Barensfeld; his siblings, John B. Nolan, Kathleen Dunn, and Beatrice Dorn; and many nieces, nephews; and cousins. He is predeceased by his parents; and by his siblings, Kathryn Nolan, Edward Nolan, and Charles Nolan. Calling hours open to friends and family will be held 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home in Chatham, N.Y., followed by a private service for the family. Flowers will be accepted at the funeral home. Interment is Monday, Nov. 21, at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, N.Y. A memorial and celebration of the life of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, and colleague will be held in Plattsburgh, N.Y., this summer