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Lt. Col. Ray M. Clapp, USAF Retired, passed away Tuesday July 22, 2014. He was 95.
Ray was born in Dawson, Texas, December 8, 1918 to Joe and Hattie Steward Clapp. He graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1937 where he lettered in basketball and was an outstanding baseball player. Following graduation, he attended Trinity University. At that time, Trinity University was still in Waxahachie. While attending Trinity, Ray learned to fly, acquiring his private and commercial pilot's licenses in 1941 at Love Field in Dallas.
World War II interrupted college and his civilian aviation career and, in 1942, Ray joined the Army Air Corp. Because he was already a commercial pilot, he received a direct commission as a 2nd Lt. and was immediately assigned pilot's duties. During World War II, he served with distinction in the African and European theaters of the war, receiving numerous awards and citations.
When the Korean War broke out he was with the 374th Troop Carrier Group, the first Air Force unit to enter action there. He was called upon to immediately begin supply missions to Republic of Korea troops and to evacuate civilians. Throughout the summer of 1950, he flew missions under constant enemy fire in the air and on the ground, without the benefit of fighter cover. Following the summer of 1950, he continued flying missions in Korea, frequently flying in mountainous terrain without the benefit of radio navigation aids, and at times, landing under fire on beaches, frozen lakes or river beds at night. For his efforts, among other awards, he received the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Following the Korean War, Ray continued as a career Air Force Officer. It was during this period, while stationed at Dover AFB, he met his beloved wife of 56 years, Joan Kennedy Clapp of New Haven, Ct.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1963, Ray and Joan settled in San Antonio, Texas. There, Ray completed his bachelor's degree in math and physics from Trinity University and began a teaching career. He taught math at Alamo Heights High School from 1963 to 1979.
Ray was preceded in death by his brother Joe M. Clapp, his daughter Carol Clapp Drought, and his grandson, Brett W. Bratcher, Jr.
He is survived by his loving wife, Joan Kennedy Clapp; his daughters, Brenda Butler and Donna Dove; his son Ray M. Clapp, Jr. and wife, Marianne; and his son-in-law, Gerald T. Drought. He also leaves behind his granddaughters, Cathy Desoto, Tiffin Dove, Amy Dove, Christa Connor, Rachell Dove, Rory Doyle and his grandsons, Gerald T. Drought, Jr., Ray M. Clapp, III and Benjamin C. Clapp. He is also survived by several great grandchildren, nieces, and by many devoted friends.
JULY 29, 2014
FORT SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, Texas 77210-4486.
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Porter Loring Mortuary - San Antonio
1101 McCullough San Antonio, TX 78212
Published in Express-News on July 27, 2014