Jeanne G. Clapp, a retired educator who was a founding faculty member of the Odyssey School, died June 5 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 70.
"Jeanne was just a lovely lady and the consummate professional. She was a wonderful colleague and friend," said Marty Sweeney, headmistress of the Odyssey School. "She loved the children, and they loved her right back."
The daughter of Ray Gatewood, a retired weighmaster, and Rae Covington Gatewood, Jeanne Gatewood was born in Baltimore and raised in Bowling Green, Va., where she graduated in 1962 from Caroline High School.
She earned a bachelor's degree in 1966 in business education from what was then James Madison College in Harrisonburg, Va.
"In 1968, she moved to Baltimore and worked for various commercial and legal firms in their accounting department," said her husband of 39 years, Edward Lamberton "Ned" Clapp, a former Gilman School teacher.
She wanted to teach, so Mrs. Clapp left accounting and enrolled at what is now Loyola University Maryland, where she completed her studies for certification.
She interned at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, where she was hired as a third-grade teacher in 1985.
Alexander Hamilton "Ham" Bishop III, the first head of Odyssey School, which was established in 1994 by parents of 20 dyslexic children, hired Mrs. Clapp that year.
"Jeanne was considered a founding teacher," said her husband.
When Mrs. Clapp began teaching at Odyssey, it was on Roland Avenue at Wyndhurst Avenue. It relocated its campus to Stevenson in 2002.
"She was very much part of establishing the school's culture and climate in reaching out to students," said Ms. Sweeney. "She had a way of growing their skills, confidence and taking on new challenges. And she would follow up with them after they graduated."
She recalled Mrs. Clapp for her quick wit and never being without her trademark red lipstick.
Cindy Maier, also a founding Odyssey teacher, said, "Jeanne was the ultimate colleague and friend. She loved children and touched so many, many lives.
"She'd follow them and they followed her, and when they came back to school, they always wanted to see Mrs. Clapp. It's one of the special things about the school."
"Even though she and Ned didn't have kids, she adored her nieces and nephews, and two great-nieces," said Barbara Clapp, a sister-in-law who lives in Homeland. "And when she was teaching, we were always hearing about her students. She always had a big heart when it came to kids."
Mrs. Clapp, a former longtime Riderwood resident, retired in 2007.
Before moving to a condominium in Mays Chapel in 2004, Mrs. Clapp and her husband enjoyed working in their meticulously maintained gardens.
Mrs. Clapp enoyed world travel.
"I remember Jeanne telling me not to put off traveling, because you never know what is going to happen," said Ms. Maier.
"Jeanne always liked having a good time," said her sister-in-law. "She was very smart, funny and sassy."
Mrs. Clapp was a voracious reader and enjoyed listening to classical music.
"She liked classical music that was lively, such as Handel's 'Royal Fireworks,' and not particularly soft," her husband said.
Until the last several years, Mrs. Clapp enjoyed attending performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband were also members of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Services are private.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Clapp is survived by her mother, Rae Covington Gatewood of Richmond, Va.; two brothers, Roger Gatewood and Michael Gatewood, both of Austin, Texas; and several nieces and nephews.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun