Erma P. Clapper, 89

Day care operator

December 20, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Erma P. Clapper, a retired licensed day care operator and avid stationary bicyclist, died from complications of a stroke Dec. 12 at Northwest Hospital Center. The Dickeyville resident was 89.

Erma Mae Perry was born in Randolph, Vt. Because she was sickly as a child, the family moved to Florida for several years on the advice of a physician. They later moved to Port Deposit, then to Phoenix in Baltimore County.

A graduate of Bel Air High School, she married Samuel P. Clapper, an engineering draftsman at Edgewood Arsenal, in 1943. He died in 1970.

A longtime Joppa resident, Mrs. Clapper became one of the first licensed day care providers in Harford County in the late 1960s.

"She loved infants and toddlers, and later only took children from schoolteachers so she could have summers off," said her daughter, Jane Ann Clapper Lewis of Dickeyville.

"She continued this occupation from her home until the late 1970s and was loved by generations of children," her daughter said.

"In addition to caring for her home, she waded through snowdrifts to feed birds, spent time every day of the year working in her garden and gave shelter and care to a series of homeless cats."

Wishing to stay active, Mrs. Clapper began riding a stationary bike in her early 50s and continued doing so for two decades.

"She logged more than 57,000 miles while reading the paper or watching TV, and only wore out one bike," her daughter said. "She rode no less than 15 miles a day."

After a hip fracture and a later hip replacement, Mrs. Clapper kept fit by walking around her house for 30 minutes each morning and afternoon with a walker.

Mrs. Clapper and her husband enjoyed taking automobile trips and had visited every state in the continental United States. She also traveled to Alaska and the Holy Land.

Because of failing health, she moved to her daughter's Dickeyville home in 2002.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Clapper is survived by three grandchildren.

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