Kenyon Ford Clapp
May 31, 1928
April 23, 2011
Community leader and political columnist Kenyon F. Clapp, 82, passed away in a Temple hospital April 23, 2011 with his wife of 62 years and his three sons around him.
Funeral services were held at the Salado Church of Christ with Minister Joe Keys officiating. Burial followed at the Salado Cemetery.
Ken was born May 31, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio the son of Ford M. Clapp and Elizabeth Glenn (Kenyon) Clapp.
Clapp was a child of the Great Depression and it informed his life as an adult. Growing up in Cleveland, he began his first job as a “newspaperman” throwing the Cleveland Plains Dealer to subscribers on his bicycle route. He loved newspapers and newspapering throughout his life.
He was a veteran of the U. S. Air Force. While stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio he met Melba Whitecotton. They married July 16, 1948 in Sabinal.
Ken often delighted in telling the story of going to the courthouse with Melba to get their marriage certificate. The county clerk sent the young bride-to-be back home to get her parents’ signature before issuing the marriage certificate.
Clapp was a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown and received his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
He began his career in education teaching in Uvalde and later served in administration.
He also was personnel director for Killeen ISD until 1972, serving under Dr. C.E. Ellison.
In 1972, Clapp took the Chief of Staff Position and executive assistant for Governor Dolph Briscoe. He was Governor Briscoe’s Statewide Campaign Director for his second and third terms in office.
He was named an Honorary Texas Ranger by Governor Briscoe.
In 1978, Clapp was appointed Commissioner of the Texas Employment Commission representing the employer’s rights until 1984.
In 1984 the couple moved to Salado, where Clapp continued his political writing.
Always a journalist, he had written for the Uvalde Leader News for many years and then began a weekly newspaper, the Salado Post Dispatch on Salado’s Main Street in the old Berry House. The Post Dispatch is looked back upon by many as a fine example of a top quality hometown newspaper. After a valiant two-year run, Ken made the tough decision to close the newspaper.
Not too long after that, the Fleischer family purchased the Salado Village Voice newspaper. The neophyte newspaper family needed a local political columnist and Ken needed to continue to write, so a relationship and friendship of more than two decades began in 1988. Ken never missed a column deadline in the 23 years he wrote for the Salado Village Voice. He signed each week with “That’s -30-”
While he was publisher of the Post-Dispatch, he was also involved in many community activities, including being an active member of the Salado Church of Christ, a member and director of the Salado Chamber of Commerce and the chairman of the Salado Business Association (SBA).
Long before incorporation, the Salado Chamber of Commerce was the de facto city government for the village. It managed and maintained Pace Park, kick-started the Salado Volunteer Fire Department, paid for lights on Main Street and handled much of the business of the village.
The SBA was a coalition of business owners working together to market Salado and promote commerce. At that time, the Chamber of Commerce had one part-time retired secretary and was officed in a room not much bigger than a walk-in closet.
Ken took a leadership role in the community that affected the future of business and the look of Main Street Salado.
While Clapp served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the idea of renovating the Old Red Schoolhouse came to the forefront.
Earlier proposals to keep the building as an elementary school or to renovate the building for use as a post office, community and arts center had both failed and the 1924 red brick schoolhouse sat empty on Main Street.
The Salado Chamber of Commerce -- with leaders such as Clapp, Stewart Smith, Denver Mills, Bob Cottle, Pasty Sanford and others -- took hold of the idea of raising funds to turn the eyesore into an asset.
That was in early 1992. The community broke ground on Nov. 30, 1992 for the renovation of the building. Ken Clapp announced the groundbreaking through his “Off the Record” column apearing in the Nov. 25, 1992 issue. Because of a massive fundraiser effort at that time, more than $400,000 was spent on the renovation of the Old Red Schoolhouse.
Ken served 15 years as the Salado Civic Center Foundation President and Chairman, overseeing the operations and guiding the board.
He was also very active at the Salado Church of Christ, where he served as the Treasurer for many years.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Melba Clapp of Salado; three sons David Kenyon Clapp and wife Rebecca of Tyler, Don Zachary Clapp of Salado and Andrew Ford Clapp and wife Randy of Converse. Three grandchildren and six great grandchildren, and two pending great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Salado Church of Christ Building Fund. 217 N. Stagecoach Road Salado, TX 76571
Dossman Funeral Home of Belton is in charge of arrangements.