Letter: Willard Clapper was a hero to many
Willard Clapper was one of the finest people I have ever known. In 1985, his then-girlfriend, Ann Austin, and I were together for a couple of weeks in Hawaii. Every day, Willard would call, and instead of saying hello, he would be singing, “I just called to say I love you.” Of course, I answered many times, and I’d say, “I’ll get her,” and he’d laugh.
Everyone knows Willard was a hero in the Fire Department. He risked his life many times. One incident I remember very well was a combined Mountain Rescue-Fire Department body recovery. Willard was searching, under water, at the Grottos. He wanted me to be on belay holding him. The search went on for hours — Willard would not give up, and he located the victim.
Our three daughters attended the Aspen schools and were lucky enough to have Willard as a teacher. He was, by far, a special teacher, and they adored him.
Our family sends love and condolences to the Clapper family and especially to Anne Austin-Clapper.
Judi Francis (Bob, Leslee, Jackie and Shannon)
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