Ann  Clapp
Ann Clapp
TYLER — Ann Marie Richbourg Clapp, born in Tyler, TX, on January 4, 1922, joined the Church Eternal on September 4, 2020. The first child born to Tyler newcomers J.W. and Lillie Lee Richbourg, Ann was a member of Marvin Methodist Church from the cradle to her passing. She graduated from Tyler High School, Tyler Junior College, and Southern Methodist University. At SMU, she studied government and economics, pledged Gamma Phi Beta, and fell in love with a student from the SMU School of Law. That lawyer proposed, she graduated, and Ann Marie married Lt. Harold Bradley Clapp on a Sunday morning in August 1942 at Marvin Church, during his 24-hour leave from the Army Air Corp. After his service ended, Captain Clapp returned Ann to her hometown in 1945 to settle and start a family. The Clapps reared their four children, Mike, Patsy, Matt, and Pam, and a fifth as their own, nephew Brad Ranlett. They couldn’t have known then that they would (together and independently) leave a lasting mark on their Tyler community.
In 1958, “Mrs. Clapp” began her career in the Tyler Independent School District teaching Texas history and English. She retired 17 years later as a respected teacher of American Government and Economics at Robert E. Lee High School. As a fellow teacher later described her, “You were one of the most effective teachers to ever grace the ranks of TISD.” Early on, she was the driving force behind the inception of an Economics Department. Further along, Ann initiated the honors classes in her subjects. She served on local and state curriculum committees and as Social Studies Chairwoman for the TISD.
Her love of our republican form of governance and the free enterprise system was evident to all she taught. As she remembered in 1992, “The hardest thing about teaching was trying to inspire students to be the best possible citizens they could be in this country and to appreciate our system of government.” She was thrilled to be greeted by her former students for the rest of her life. Upon her retirement, she was chosen, along with Ross Perot, as the outstanding woman and man in the state of Texas for ‘Contributions to the American Free Enterprise System’ by the Texas Freedom Forum. She was honored to be one of three authors who were hired in 1978 by Sadlier-Oxford publishers to write an economics textbook, America’s Economy: Freedom’s Way. Her commitment to furthering people’s awareness and appreciation of our nation’s democracy extended into memberships in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the American Association of University Women.
Ann Clapp was appreciated by her peers as a leader. She served as President of the REL Parent-Teacher Association, President of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, and President of the East Texas Council of Social Studies. Her leadership attributes were recently highlighted by a colleague’s remembrance, “You’ve always been one of the people I most admire. I pull up your image in my mind’s eye and remember your outstanding intelligence, can-do attitude, and congenial nature. You’re something special.”
She enjoyed memberships in the Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Sorority for Women Educators, the Tyler Lawyers Auxiliary, and the New Century Literary Club, among others. During her long lifetime, Ann enjoyed hobbies of traveling with Judge Clapp around the U.S. and the world; reading; hosting friends and family; and dabbling in interior design, garden design, and flower arranging. Always a warm and gracious Southern lady, she is fondly remembered now by many to be an example of grace in aging.
Ann’s love and reverence for God was the foundation of her life. She used her gifts throughout her lifetime at Marvin United Methodist Church. After meeting the friends she and Harold would keep for a lifetime in the young Crusaders Sunday School Class, she began a long stint as a devoted teacher for the Susannah Wesley Ladies Class. Ann served on the church’s Administrative Board and was one of the first women to serve on the Board of Trustees. She was involved for decades in mission funding and discipleship growth through her involvement and leadership in circles of the United Methodist Women, also serving as its President. She assisted Harold in Marvin’s outreach mission of constructing the Wesley Foundation campus ministry building at Tyler Junior College. She also worked with Patsy and Judge Clapp to establish the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center which was needed to remove juveniles from the county jail. And she and Patsy enjoyed furnishing and decorating the Parlor which is used by families at Marvin.
Ultimately, however, Ann considered her family to be her lasting legacy. She was always supportive and omnipresent at all her children’s and grandchildren’s endeavors and activities. In addition to her daughters-in-‘love’ Janie Clapp (TX), Martha Ranlett (CA), and Alison Clapp (VT) and her faithful advocate/son-in-law Will Evans (NC), she beamed with joy when talking about her nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, whom she amazed with her fluency in Pig Latin and Alfalfa.
Grandchildren include David Clapp (CO), Amy Clapp (VT), Carrie Caton (TX), Claire Caton (TX), Sarah Wynne (TX), Travis Clapp (deceased), Katherine Crow (TX), Wil Evans (CO), and Ann-Marie Schaefer (TX).
Great grandchildren include Eddie, Theo, Celia, Eliza, Hampton, Anna Cate, Ross, Iyler, Camp, Jane, Lilly, and Andrew. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins whom she loved.
Ann outlived most of her generation of family and friends. Certainly then, among the first to joyfully greet her in heaven would be Harold, her husband of 66 years; her sister Dorothy Lee, and their parents; and long-time friend Ernestene ‘Teenie’ Mickey; as well as her beloved son Matt and his dear son Travis. A memorial service honoring her Christian life on earth will be held at Marvin United Methodist Church at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to Marvin Church or a charity of your choice.
Her children, who do not live in Tyler, may be reached via email at patsyclapp3@gmail.com; emailpamevans@hotmail.com; clapplaw@aol.com; brad.ranlett@hotmail.com

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