Richard Rowland Clopper Sr., 85, Arundel schools administrator

April 28, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Richard Rowland Clopper Sr., a former Anne Arundel County schools administrator and Howard County teacher, died in his sleep Saturday at the Health Care Center in Carroll Lutheran Village, a Westminster retirement community. He was 85.

Born in Indian Springs, he graduated in 1934 as valedictorian of Clear Springs High School. He initially attended Lynchburg College in Virginia, where he met his wife at a "shoe dance." The men at the dance threw one of their shoes into a pile for the women to each choose one and find its match.

Mary Elizabeth Summers of Pulaski, Va., selected a shoe.

"It was his, and that was it," said the couple's daughter, Susan Schubert of Finksburg.

The two were married on New Year's Day 1938.

Dr. Clopper, who transferred to the University of Maryland after meeting his future wife, graduated in 1938.

After graduation, he began a teaching career -- during which he taught math, French, English and history -- at an Elkridge school. Four years later, he earned his master's degree in education from the University of Maryland.

From 1943 until 1946, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was assigned to the 69th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) in Plymouth, England. He served as a paymaster in the supply corps and entered France and Germany during World War II.

After leaving Europe, Dr. Clopper returned to Elkridge as the principal of a school that housed all 12 grades.

He began working in Anne Arundel schools in 1955 as a secondary schools supervisor. After earning a doctorate in education from the Johns Hopkins University in 1962, he was promoted to assistant superintendent for elementary schools.

Dr. Clopper helped found Anne Arundel Community College and oversaw the construction of several county schools before his retirement in 1977.

He had varied interests from reading to sports. He also knew how to cook and knit.

"He just found everything could be of use to you, so he learned it," his daughter said.

Dr. Clopper was a member of several organizations, including the Maryland Retired Teachers Association and the Carroll County Genealogical Society. He also served two terms on the board of directors for Carroll Lutheran Village.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Krug Chapel in Carroll Lutheran Village, 300 St. Luke Circle.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, Richard R. Clopper Jr. of Buffalo, N.Y.; a sister, Catherine C. Quandt of Hagerstown; a brother, Samuel E. Clopper of Catonsville; and two grandchildren.

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