August 18, 1942 - July 25, 2018
On July 25, 2018 Laura Bess Greer Clapp, 75, finished her earthly visit peacefully, surrounded by family in her home at Greenhope, near Florence, Mississippi. The family invites attention to arrangements and memorial suggestions at the end of this inadequate tribute. A beloved and devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, Laura bravely fought multiple insults of Parkinson’s Disease until she quietly succumbed to aspiration pneumonia. A thinking Christian and “cradle Episcopalian,” she looked forward with circumspection to peace and comfort with her Creator. Laura Bess, named for her mother’s sisters, was born in Memphis, Tennessee on August 18, 1942, second child of Thomas Hastings Greer and Dorothy West Ellison Greer. Both had graduated from University of Memphis Law School and were admitted to the Tennessee bar while Mr. Greer was an accountant with William A. Webster Company. Laura Bess and her brother, Toddy (Tommy, Jr.) were moved to Macon, Mississippi in 1948, where Mr. Greer partnered in a Ford dealership and where her sister, Dorothy Virginia was born. In 1955 they moved to Starkville where Mr. Greer operated B.F. Goodrich and White Auto stores, kept books for small businesses, owned several rental houses, and retired after ten years of service as a state Tax Commission auditor. Mrs. Greer assisted in the businesses, was a serious candidate for municipal office, and cheerily conducted a welcome wagon program. Both were leaders in the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection where Mr. Greer was Treasurer and Mrs. Greer was a Sunday school teacher and choir member. Laura Bess participated in local and state church youth activities and loved attending Camp Bratton-Green at Way, Mississippi as did her siblings. She enjoyed swimming and was a popular Starkville High School band majorette and clarinet player, Lions All State Band majorette, basketball player for legendary Coach (later Hinds Community College President) Clyde Muse, and Yellowjacket yearbook beauty. She graduated with honors in 1960, enrolled at Mississippi State College for Women where she was a member of the Rogues social club majoring in Home Economics, and attended Mississippi State University. She married Air Force 2nd Lt. Roger Clifford Clapp, son of Dean Robert T. and Marianne B. Clapp, in Starkville on June 9, 1962, and the new couple moved to Los Angeles. When Lt. Clapp finished graduate school in meteorology at U.C.L.A., he was transferred to Tacoma, Washington. Laura attended Pacific Lutheran College and received her Bachelor of Science degree in English from University of Puget Sound while Lt. Clapp was a Weather Officer at McChord Air Force Base. Roger, Jr., was born at Maxwell AFB, Alabama on October 11,1964 while Lt. Clapp attended Squadron Officers School. While awaiting orders for navigator training, Lt. Clapp resigned his regular Air Force commission to accept a commission in the AF Ready Reserves. They returned to Jackson, Mississippi, where he rejoined Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, having begun management training four years earlier. Todd Ellison Clapp was born January 12, 1966, and the company moved the family to Long Beach, Mississippi that summer. Andrew Blakeslee Clapp was born in Gulfport on December 20, 1967. They moved to Greenwood, Mississippi in 1968 and back to Jackson in 1969, where Benjamin Hastings Clapp was born January 15, 1971. Mr. Clapp attended Jackson School of Law at night and joined the law firm of Daniel, Coker, Horton, Bell, and Dukes in 1975, while Laura was a full-time housewife and very busy mother. At St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, she served as pledge recording secretary and Roger was in the choir. They moved into a mobile home on rural property south of Florence in 1977, finally finishing their rustic house in 1986. After years of substitute teaching, Mrs. Clapp taught in Rankin County School District junior high and elementary schools, eventually earning her Masters Degree in Counseling from Mississippi State University and achieving National Board Certification. All who witnessed her managing this career while raising four boys were impressed with her organizational abilities. She taught gifted students in Florence for the last twenty of her thirty years of service to Mississippi. In retirement, she enjoyed fond greetings from teachers and students throughout the community, especially from former Venture students whose children were in the gifted program she had served. Laura was quiet by nature, a shy and gentle soul, never admitting her excellence at scrupulous homemaking, healthy cooking, creative sewing, knitting, crochet, ceramics, child rearing, etc., in addition to her professional skills. She dutifully cooked fish, deer, dove, rabbit, and squirrel harvested by her boys and was always glad to oblige her grandchildren’s repeated requests for her special spaghetti & meatballs or chicken & rice soup. For years she sewed much of her own clothing, carefully knitted coats and scarves and Christmas stockings, and enjoyed bridge. She donated her huge supply of knitting material for tiny gowns and caps for premature and stillborn babies. Laura loved dancing as long as she was able and was a prodigious reader, especially enjoying hundreds of electronic books. She enjoyed music and theater and was a long-time supporter of The Mississippi Chorus, The Mississippi Symphony, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences, Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music, New Stage Theater, Salvation Army, and various charities. She and Roger were life members of Friends of Mississippi State Hospital. She sang in church choirs for years and was a licensed Lay Reader, Chalice Bearer, Lay Eucharistic Visitor, occasional Sunday School teacher and delegate to the Diocese of Mississippi annual council, and a graduate of the Disciples of Christ (DOC) instructional series and the comprehensive four-year Education for Ministry (EFM) program. Laura helped organize and taught in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd programs at St. Luke’s and St. Peter’s-by-the-Lake Episcopal Churches in Brandon and remained an ardent supporter of this foundational Christian instruction at the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew in Jackson. She and Roger served on several church medical missions to rural Honduran villages and primitive Panama tribes, where she helped with Catechesis programs and worked in the modest vision clinics. Always loyal supporters of Camp Bratton-Green (CBG) programs, they served as CBG cabin parents many years and were charter members of the CBG Alumni Association. Laura was on the Board of Managers of Duncan M. Gray Episcopal Camp and Conference Center for two terms and its secretary for an additional four years. Laura was proud of the military service of her father-in-law, her brother, her son Drew, and other family members, and she bravely supported Roger’s many absences for Air Force Reserve duty until Col. Clapp retired in 1993. After accompanying Roger on camping, canoeing, and hiking ventures early in their marriage, complicated later by what small boys add to such fun, she wisely urged the realization of his dream of living in the woods instead of just visiting. This led to their long stewardship of the land in Rankin County they named Greenhope. Her crowning achievement was raising boys into family men and contributing citizens, multiplying her good qualities for future generations. She and the boys were tireless and loyal campaigners in Roger’s eventually successful run for judge in the 20th Chancery Court District of Mississippi. Laura was a kind and generous mother-in-law and grandmother, never hesitant to help and encourage all in her extended family. She insisted on sponsoring music and swimming lessons, braces, and summer camp for grandchildren. In her characteristically quiet manner, she could be appropriately impatient but was usually careful with slow comments offered with love and grace. This typically evoked the best of responses from the friend, acquaintance, or family member who had gotten her attention with words or deeds. Roger was in awe of this quality and claimed to often have been its beneficiary. He fondly recalls many of his tirades over current events or politics ending with her original final comment: “Well, such is the essence of reality.” She tried to hide her intense sense of hospitality, which required much unseen planning and preparation regardless of the number or the familiarity of guests. As cognitive challenges increased in later years, she repeatedly voiced concern about children and adult visitors she imagined were on the way to Greenhope. Friends and family will miss her sweet smile, her quiet sense of humor, and the endearing happy tears and soft laughter that came when she was tickled. Laura leaves her first and only husband heartbroken, along with her four sons and eleven grandchildren: Roger Clifford Clapp, Jr., M.D. and wife Arleen, of Starkville, and Merrick and Shelby; Todd Ellison Clapp, P.E. and wife Pam, of Brandon, and Isaac and Olivia; Andrew Blakeslee Clapp, CWOIII U.S.C.G. (Ret.) and wife Ronielle, of Slidell, and Andrew, Thomas, and Melanie; Benjamin Hastings Clapp and wife Wednesdi, of Florence, and Meachelle, Miranda, J.W., and Cheyenne; brother Thomas Hastings Greer, Jr., M.D. and wife Joy, of Meridian; sister Dorothy (Mrs. Anthony “Bubba”) Tampary of Pensacola. For now, she also leaves two great-grandchildren, Colton and Riley, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, friends and admirers. In lieu of flowers, Laura would suggest increased generous gifts to your church or other place of worship or a special contribution to the Parkinson’s Association, Alzheimer’s Association, St. Andrew’s Cathedral Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi Honduras or Panama Medical Missions, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, or your own favorite museum or charity. Visitation is offered from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p. m. on Friday, August 10, 2018 at Chancellor Funeral Home in Florence and again Saturday at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Capital Street in Jackson at 1:00 pm before the celebration of the Sacrament of Burial at 2:00 pm. Burial of cremains will be later at Gray Episcopal Camp and Conference Center cemetery at Way, MS, and eventually also in Greenhope Cemetery, 642 Seventh Day Road, Florence. May she rest in well-earned everlasting peace.
On July 25, 2018 Laura Bess Greer Clapp, 75, finished her earthly visit peacefully, surrounded by family in her home at Greenhope, near Florence, Mississippi. The family invites attention to arrangements and memorial suggestions at the... View Obituary & Service Information
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