Patricia Clapp Obituary (1929-2021) – Greensboro, NC

Gossip, Patricia F.

March 10, 1929 – November 26, 2021

Patricia Fornof Clapp (92) left this world peacefully on November 26, 2021 for her heavenly reward.

Patricia was born on March 10, 1929, the third of seven children to Inez and Adam Fornof. Raised in Wilkinsburg, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, she graduated from Wilkinsburg High School and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She met her future husband Harry Patterson Clapp when they were met on a blind date by his colleague. They married in 1952 and celebrated their 69th anniversary in 2021.

As a member of the Junior Section of the Wilkinsburg Women’s Club, Patricia led efforts to establish a preschool program for the then so-called “mentally retarded”. Little did she know that this would be her life’s work. Jeffrey was born shortly thereafter, followed by the birth of David and later Jean. David was born with Down syndrome, and Patricia became a passionate advocate of the mentally handicapped.

She was elected local and then state president of the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC) and led a number of initiatives that changed the lives of millions forever. The most influential of these was the writing of PL 94-142, “The Right to Education for the Mentally Disabled,” in 1975. The draft for this law was written at their kitchen table and served as a model for a similar law to be enacted nationwide. She also served as the Regional Vice President for the National Organization (NARC). During her tenure, she helped set up Youth PARC and worked on the national Youth ARC Advisory Board. Patricia has achieved many achievements and received numerous awards and accolades for her tireless dedication to the disabled. Some of them can be seen in an exhibition at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

Her volunteer work did not detract from her family attention. She served as a scout mother for her two sons and a girl scout for her daughter. She and Harry played active roles in their children’s lives, helping shape them into the individuals they became.

As an active churchgoer, Patricia sang in the choir of the Calvary Lutheran Church in Wilkinsburg and has starred in church productions for Oklahoma and The Music Man. After moving to McLean, Virginia, Patricia continued her singing with the Andrew Chapel UMC Choir, where she made numerous friendships that lasted for years. In addition to her voluntary work, she was the deputy head of the Christian Refugee Outreach Program, where she mainly worked with refugees from Vietnam and Afghanistan. Your dedication and advocacy for these people has changed many lives. She met Hamida Miller, who became her second daughter, and Hai and Kim Pham, who became like family, know and “adopted” them.

Retreating to Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and son David in 1991 did not stop her from continuing her advocacy. Realizing that there were few options for the mentally and developmentally disabled, she wrote and received a scholarship to begin what is now known as arcBARKS. The program started in her kitchen and now has a permanent location in Greensboro. The company, which consists primarily of people with disabilities, bakes, packs and sells dog snacks based on recipes created and tested in Patricia’s home kitchen.

The influence Patricia had on others will last for years. Her legacy lives on in the lives she inspired and those who continue to fight for those in need of advocacy. She will sorely miss all who have loved and admired her.

She leaves behind her loving husband Harry Patterson Clapp, son Jeffrey (Lynn) Clapp from Pittsburgh, daughter Jean (Tim) Groome from High Point, grandsons Brian (Barbie) Clapp from Austin, Texas and Megan Clapp from Pittsburgh, and great-granddaughter Samantha Clapp von Austin as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends. Her predecessor son David and all her siblings: Ruby Blackburn, Garnet Reed, Adamae Gilmore, Adam Fornof, John Fornof and George Fornof.

The family thanks our angels on earth who cared for and cared for Patricia. Felecia Gilmer and LaTosha Irving, who became part of the family, and Mitchell Causey, who was already part of the family, helped make Patricia’s final days enjoyable and full of love and affection. Greensboro’s Authoracare (hospice) made it possible for Patricia to be at home in her final days. “Thank you” will never be enough to show family gratitude.

Funeral arrangements are made by Forbis and Dick Funeral Services. A visitation will be held at Mt. Pleasant UMC on Burlington Road at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, December 1st. The funeral service will take place at 2:00 p.m. followed by a funeral in the church.

Instead of flowers, the family would suggest donating to Greensboro Authoracare or a local advocacy group.

Forbis and Dick’s funeral

1118 N. Elm St.

Published by Greensboro News & Record on November 30, 2021.

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