Ralph Burton Clapp, 91, of Jackson, formerly of Three Rivers and LaGrange Highlands, Ill., passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Saturday, June 18, 2011. He was born in Oak Park, Ill., on July 21, 1919, the son of Albert and Alice (Pollard) Clapp.
Ralph (“Swede” to many of his friends) graduated from Oak Park-River Forest High School and also attended the University of Wisconsin on a football scholarship. On April 11, 1942 he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Ruth A. “Judy” Judson. He served his country honorably during WWII in the U.S. Air Force as a B-24 Navigator 1st Lt. Ralph was employed as a plant manager for Wire Sales Co. in Chicago, Ill., for 36 years before retiring.
Ralph enjoyed golf, gardening, especially cross pollinating iris, square dancing, wood carving, stained glass, latch-hook rugs, bowling, playing cards and the lottery. He enjoyed water-skiing up to the age of 75 at Fisher Lake where he and Judy spent many wonderful years. Ralph loved his children as well as all children and they all made him smile. He was a man of few words, but when he talked, you listened. He kept his sense of humor until the end.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Roger A. Clapp; two grandchildren, Natasha Beson and Andrew B. Baylis; his sister, Ruth (Clapp) Krueger; his brother, Albert Clapp; close family friends, Tommy and Andy Washburn.
He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife, Ruth A. “Judy” Clapp of Jackson; three daughters, Elaine L. (George) Lewter of Lansing, Angela Joy of Battle Creek and Vivian (Harold) Baylis-Hunt of Olivet; grandchildren, Christine (Robert) Carnley of Baton Rouge, La., Danya Clapp of Pensacola, Fla., Laurena Norton of Battle Creek, Jesse and Kelly Lewter, both of Lansing, William and Stephen Norton, both of Kalamazoo, Christopher Baylis of Wichita Falls, Texas and Brianna Baylis of Olivet; three great-grandchildren, Elijah Hoover, Cheyenne Watson and Janiah West, all of Battle Creek, as well as one daughter-in-law, Terri (Matt) Birdsall of Pensacola, Fla.; nieces and nephews and special friend Estelle Langston of Denver, Colo.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 at the Hohner Funeral Home, Three Rivers, with Rev. Marilyn Schlimgen officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the St. Joe Valley Golf Course. A memorial fund in Ralph’s name has been established there to sponsor golf lessons for young people who cannot afford them.