David D. Clapp

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 9:45am

David Dudley Clapp died on July 27, 2020, in his Boothbay Harbor home with his wife by his side at the age of 81.

David was born in Boston on May 5, 1939, to Nathaniel Dudley Clapp and Mary Loring Clapp. He grew up in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts, and was a graduate of the Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, Mass., and Brown University. A veteran of the Army, he was a Chinese linguist, trained at the Monterey Army Language School. As a civilian, David served as President of the Wakefield Corporation, Wakefield, MA, a family business that manufactured sintered metal machine parts.

Throughout his life, he contributed to many organizations that were dear to him: president of the Board of the Exeter Day School, member of the Salem Marine Society, Board of the Brown Club of New Hampshire, long supporter of the Handel and Hayden Society and Boothbay Region Land Trust.

An avid sailor, David’s happiest moments were on the water along the coast of Maine. Many of his friends and family, who speak regularly of his kindness, sincerity, wry humor, and clever wit, have fond memories of time spent together with David on his boat. He was a patient and loving father, husband, and friend who listened attentively and gave advice always with the caveat that, “free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.” He assumed the best in everyone and graciously offered to buy anyone a drink as his way of warmly welcoming them into his community.

While most summers as a youth and adolescent were spent cruising the coast of Maine on the family sailboat, the Polly, David spent several summers tending bar on Cape Cod. This is where he learned to make his legendary Bloody Mary and gin & tonic. He also met his best friend and life partner, Linda, becoming an inseparable dynamic duo, always known as a connected couple, great conversationalists, and terrific company to each other and to others. They filled their family’s home with laughter, making Saturday Night Live and Monty Python’s Flying Circus integral parts of the family vernacular. When their children were young, they embarked on “Magical Mystery Tours,” outings to get out of the house and experience something new. As empty nesters, they embarked on similar unique adventures with friends, including weekend jaunts to Quebec and more extensive trips to China, Europe and Alaska.

David always had a spontaneous and topical quip that put people into stitches with laughter. His wry humor was one of his crowning characteristics. A rubber chicken was always on hand, a set of Dracula teeth in the drawer, just in case the moment called for them. His clever wit stemmed from his brilliance. Although he claimed he hated school as a child, he was nonetheless a lifelong scholar. He read insatiably and usually in phases that allowed him to understand a topic fully. Whenever a book was recommended to him, he would respond that he would put it “in his queue.” In this same pursuit of learning, he often acquired licenses, receiving, for example, his Captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ever connected to the ocean, he passed as the tide was going out. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Linda, three daughters and their husbands, Polly Clapp and Chris Hammond, Ellen and Luke Labbe, Rachel and Tyler Smith; a sister Katherine Ruhl, a brother Nathanial Clapp, and six grandchildren, Madeline Clapp; Caleb, Aiden, and Sawyer Labbe; Harrison and Molly Smith. He is predeceased by his daughter, Susan Dustin Clapp, who died in 1972 at age 4.

In remembrance of David, the family requests in lieu of flowers that a donation be made in his name to either the Boothbay Region Land Trust ( or the American Heart Association ( A private, memorial for family has been scheduled.

Arrangements are entrusted to Hall Funeral and Cremation Services, 975 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay, Maine. Condolences can be shared with the family in David’s Book of Memories at