Rhoda Ackerson Weyr, a long-time Boothbay resident and community activist, died on Sunday, April 25, 2021 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She was 83 and had developed complications after a fall.
She was born Rhoda Anne Ackerson in 1937 in Budapest, Hungary, where her father was a U.S. diplomat. Weyr’s roots in Maine extended back to her maternal grandfather, who bought a large part of Monhegan Island where he was stationed during the Spanish American War. Weyr inherited the land and donated most of it to the Monhegan Land Trust where there is now a plaque on Blackhead commemorating her aunt.
Weyr spent her childhood learning new languages as the family moved from country to country. Educated in the United States, she graduated from Barnard college in 1958 and returned to Europe, where she began her career as a journalist for the United Press in Vienna. Five years later, she returned to the United States with her first husband, writer Tom Weyr. They settled in New York City, where they both worked in publishing and raised a family. In 1972, Weyr made history as the first female literary agent hired by the William Morris Agency. She was widely known for her ability to identify new writers of talent, to encourage the creation of books of interest, and for her excellent editing skills. She was also visibly noteworthy in New York City for riding her bicycle in all weathers from her home to her mid-town office.
In 1982, Weyr created her own highly successful eponymous literary agency. Among her many accomplished authors was Mark Bowden, Reeve Lindberg, and Sue Harrison. She sold the agency in 2002 and retired with her husband, noted biographer Fred Kaplan, to Boothbay, where they lived on the Back River until November 2020.
In retirement, Weyr read for pleasure, knit furiously, and taught herself to make jewelry, trekking to Boston, Philadelphia, and even Toronto for lessons and workshops. She used gold wire, petrified wood, and semi-precious stones that she acquired across the United States and throughout Europe. She eventually began a small business for her one-of-a-kind pieces. At first, her work was sold at Gallery 53 on Townsend Avenue. As her skill grew, Weyr began to participate in local art shows, among them the Lincoln Arts Festival Arts and Yachts annual event. Her energy and talent refused to let her hands be idle, and she was often spotted in Boothbay, wearing her creations and talking about the benefits of artisan work.
Weyr and Kaplan were active in the community, supporting the Botanical Gardens, the Nature Preserve, the YMCA, and the hard-fought Anti-Roundabout campaign. Weyr served for a term on the Boothbay Planning Board and helped to hold the town’s knitting group together when it lost MacNab’s Tea Room, then Willow’s End.
In addition to her husband, Weyr is survived by four daughters, Garret Weyr of Long Beach, California, Sascha Weyr (Foti) of Sherman, Connecticut, Tara Nicole Weyr of Venice Beach, California, and Teddie Weyr of Vienna, Austria; a grandson, Andrew Foti of White Plains, New York, as well as two stepsons, Benjamin J. Kaplan of London, England, and Noah J. Kaplan of Chicago, Illinois; and a stepdaughter, Julia R. Kaplan of Boothbay, Maine.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent to the International Rescue Committee to support displaced women and girls. (https://help.rescue.org/donate).