KENYON (KEN) FORD CLAPP
by Barbara Sears Elrod

 

Kenyon (Ken) Ford Clapp was born on May 31, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Shaw High School in East Cleveland in 1946 and enlisted in the US Air Force shortly thereafter. His assignment was to Kelly Field (now Lackland AFB) in San Antonio. One weekend he happened to visit Uvalde and met Melba Jean Whitecotton who was a student at UHS. They were married in 1948 during Melba’s senior year. Mr. Clapp entered Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, but his education was cut short when he was recalled to serve in the Korean Conflict. After serving his country, he returned to Southwestern in 1951 and graduated (with honors) in 1953.

Melba and the Whitecottons may have been a mighty influence, but Mr. Clapp chose to begin his teaching career as an elementary PE teacher at West Main School where he taught grades four through six. The next year he moved to UHS where he taught history. Mr. Clapp eventually entered the University of Texas at Austin to obtain a Master’s Degree in School Administration. He was assigned to serve as Assistant Principal at UHS. During that time he found time to work part-time at the Uvalde Leader News and discovered his love for journalism. He started as a sports writer and later was a general news reporter, writing feature stories, etc. While serving as Assistant Principal, Mr. Clapp taught government and economics, as well as a non-credit course in journalism where he shared his love of journalism with his students. At that time UHS did not have a school newspaper so Mr. Clapp arranged for students to have a school page in the Uvalde Leader News.

In 1963, Mr. Clapp resigned from his job with Uvalde ISD and began to work full-time at the Leader News as Editor. In July of 1964, he accepted the position of Assistant Superintendent for Personnel with the Killeen ISD which serves our giant army base, Fort Hood. He served in that capacity until 1972 when his friend, Dolph Briscoe began his run for Governor of Texas. Mr. Briscoe asked Ken if he would take a leave of absence to help with his campaign. As we know, Dolph Briscoe was successful in his bid and became our Governor in 1973. By this time, he realized what a valuable man Ken Clapp was and asked him to stay on in Austin as his Chief of Staff. Mr. Clapp served as Governor Briscoe’s Executive Assistant for six years until Briscoe’s retirement from office. At that time, Governor Briscoe nominated Mr. Clapp to serve as a Commissioner of the Texas Employment Commission to represent the employers of Texas. He was approved by the Senate and serve a six year term at TEC.

In 1985 Mr. Clapp was able to combine his years served as a teacher and his state duties and retire. He retired, but he didn’t stop working. He and his wife Melba moved to Salado where he has continued to be involved in journalism and politics. He began to write a political column that was carried in a number of weekly editions in Texas and continues to do that. One of the biggest projects he has taken on was the renovation of the old Salado High School building to be used as a Civic Center. This required raising a large sum of money through donations and grants and two years of hard work to accomplish the goal of a wonderful building for the city of Salado. Mr. Clapp has served as Chairman of the Civic Center Foundation Board of Directors since 1991. He also stays busy with his newspaper work and his church work.

Ken and Melba Clapp are the proud parents of three sons. David is a retired coach/teacher who lives in Tyler and still works during football season as an assistant coach. Don is retired from his job as an internal investigator with the agency that deals with protective services for children and aged. He lives in the Salado area to be near his daughter and grandchildren (as well as his parents). Andy lives in San Antonio and is an auditor for the Workforce Commission.

 

BARBARA ELROD
407 Rio Grande Loop
Georgetown, Texas 78628
512.931.2484