Many gather to say goodbye to former Manatee schools superintendent Dan Nolan

BRADENTON -- Many came together -- family, friends, Manatee school district officials, staff and other local officials -- to say goodbye to a man remembered as much for his dedication to the education of children in the community as for being a man of virtue.

Mourners filled the Christ Episcopal Church, 4030 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, to say goodbye to Robert Daniel "Dan" Nolan. The traditional Mass was held as a celebration of his life.

Many who had worked with Nolan during his 40-year career in the Manatee County School District filled the pews. Among them were Mark Barnaby, who had served as counsel to the school district during Nolan's tenure.

"Dr. Nolan was the right superintendent, at the right time," Barnaby said. "They were coming out of a difficult time and he was the right person for the job."

Barnaby then recalled how Nolan had come out of retirement in 2000, when called upon the school district after a national search for a new superintendent.

More important than that though, was the kind of man he was, Barnaby said.

His wife, Marianne Barnaby, agreed.

"If you looked up 'honorable' and 'integrity' in the dictionary, his picture would be there," she said.

Marianne Barnaby sang the "Lord's Prayer" during the Mass.

Nolan, 76, died Jan. 9 alongside family after a long battle with recurring cancer. R. Dan Nolan Middle School, in Lakewood Ranch, was named in his honor to pay tribute to his service.

Bradenton City Councilman Gene Gallo also came to pay his respects to a man he esteemed. He said he got to know Nolan, having gone to school with Nolan's wife, Marilyn, and throughout their professional interactions over the years.

"He was one of the first-class gentlemen I ever knew; a true gentleman," Gallo said. "He did a lot for this county."

After the service, family left the church privately and a private burial service was held at Fogartyville Cemetery, 4200 Third Ave. N.W., Bradenton.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.