In Memory of Edward "Ned" Clapp '59

Edward "Ned" Clapp '59 taught for thirty-eight years at Gilman School. A twelve-year Gilman student, Mr. Clapp graduated from Ripon College with a major in History, then spent six years teaching in the Chicago suburbs before returning to Gilman. Mr. Clapp spent the bulk of his Gilman career in the Middle School, serving as Social Studies Department Chair and Dean of Students among a variety of other responsibilities. Generations of Gilman students will remember Mr. Clapp's puns, notorious "Dreaded Bag" geography quizzes, and his overall love for teaching.

Please see the below tribute from former faculty member Don Abrams.

Ned was, in many ways, the unsung hero of the Gilman Middle School. I had the privilege of teaching alongside him for over thirty-five years. He was then, along with the likes of Bill Miller, Reg Tickner, Bo Grimes, Graeme Menzies, and Fred Brune the Dean of the Old Guard. A formidable figure, he was a much-respected colleague and friend to those of us who were fledgling teachers in the GMS. Although a no-nonsense classroom teacher, Ned was an old master, earning the respect and affection of his young charges with his breadth of knowledge, generous caring, and irreverent puns. His Dreaded Bag Quiz was a legend, as was the special space he carved out for his classroom which was affectionately dubbed The Geography Mecca.

A stickler for holding boys accountable for their behavior and adherence to the dress code (both as Dean of Students and as a teacher), he reveled in awarding strikes for students caught with their shirttails out. Many of us “rookie” teachers still have an indelible image in our minds of Ned issuing a “strike three”, which, of course, came with a cautionary demerit or an afternoon detention!

Ned was the critical bridge between Gilman in the Fifties and the School which was emerging as a more inclusive and diverse community of teachers and learners. Because of his unique perspective (which spanned nearly half a century), and which saw him in many roles as Assistant Middle School Head, Dean of Students, and teacher, his advice and counsel were often sought out. And, without fail, Ned would offer candid, unvarnished advice, invariably demonstrating his grasp of subtle school dynamics and his unfaltering concern for the well-being of children.

Ned loved Gilman boys, crossword puzzles, puns and history books. But, none of his loves was greater than his one true love, Jeanne who affectionately called him “Neddie”.

Some individuals are veritable fixtures in the sense that they are venerable icons of an institution. Ned was a titan, a giant of the Middle School - both when the middle school was in its infancy as a separate division, and throughout its formidable years as it developed its own identity. It is hard to contemplate the countless number of boys whose lives he touched in poignant and profound ways. His unique contributions to the middle school will live on in the hearts and minds of the many boys of promise he helped to fashion into men of character. For many of us perennial “rookies”, he will forever remain the “Dean of the Middle School.” Thank you, Ned!

Click here to read the Baltimore Sun's obituary.