Dr. Henry W. Clapp Jr.

Published 2:40 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

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FRANKLIN — Dr. Henry Woodard Clapp Jr. died on Nov. 21, 2019, after suffering both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes over several months.

Henry was born on May 13, 1937, in Muskegon, Michigan, the son of a much beloved local physician. His father, also named Henry, and mother, Lois Evah Hart Clapp, were institutions in the local medical community there. Henry remembered Muskegon for both the Milwaukee Clipper, a passenger ship and car ferry that sailed between Muskegon and Milwaukee, as well as his love for the cherry pies of his youth from orchards in the area.

As a young man, Henry was predeceased by his younger brother, Tommy, who died with cancer as a teenager. That tragic death haunted Henry and his mother for the rest of their lives.

He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor both for his undergraduate and his medical doctorate degrees. Henry practiced as an anesthesiologist in Denver, Colorado, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and finished his career in Franklin, Virginia.

In retirement, Henry discovered a new passion utilizing his meticulous skills in model ship-building, working with the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. He was also an avid and skilled digital photographer. He photographed just about every church event at Emmanuel Episcopal Church for many years. He was also a devoted participant in their midweek Bible studies, and had a natural talent for remarkably sophisticated biblical and theological observations.

The love of his life was Barbara Jennings Clapp, his second wife. Many of Henry’s final years were spent supporting Barbara in her valiant fight against the carcinoid tumors, which eventually took her life. Henry and Barbara together went to many of the great cancer research centers in America seeking experimental treatment, often at their own expense. Henry said that he was the one “who insisted on spending their savings trying to save Barbara.” It was their thought that even if the treatments did not prove successful, at least they would advance medical research and help other people.

Henry is survived by two beloved children, Steve Clapp and Sue Bredehoeft, both of the Denver area, as well as two beloved sisters-in-law, Evelyn Bamford of Connecticut and Marian Jennings of Philadelphia.

Many, many thanks to his devoted care team of sitters who made sure that he was never alone during his final illness; to Esther Francis and Jim Browder at the East Pavilion; and to doctors Guirkin and Ponder.

The service in witness to the Resurrection will be in Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 400 N. High St., Franklin on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. The Rev. Scott Baker will officiate.

Memorial donations may be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 146, Franklin, VA 23851.