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Mid-Valley baseball field dedicated to Aspen's Willard Clapper

Marci Krivonen

The late Willard Clapper was honored in the Mid-Valley yesterday. A baseball field at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel was named for the Aspen resident and longtime teacher who was deeply involved in local athletics. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Dozens of people gathered in the rain Wednesday to dedicate the field to Willard Clapper. The former teacher, volunteer firefighter and baseball coach died in October after battling lymphoma.

"Most of you know that I’m Willard’s daughter and I’m very proud (to be)," said Ashley Austin. 

Credit Marci Krivonen
Friends and family of Willard Clapper gather for a photo near the baseball field named for him.

She recalled traveling with the Aspen High School baseball team, when her father was coach.

"I remember so fondly the baseball trips and staying at the hotels with the team. They were all going off and getting in trouble and Willard was always finding someone doing something wrong!"

Anne Austin-Clapper was Willard’s wife. She wore his old baseball jacket and told the crowd he wanted an assortment of fields in the Valley to support youth sports.

"Every time we went on a road trip, whether it was to Grand Junction, Denver, Eagle, or Avon, they all had these wonderful ball fields. He was so upset that we didn’t have something like that in this Valley and he always talked about that. I can’t think of a better tribute for him."

Clapper was one of the original board members for Crown Mountain Park. The current board decided last year to name ball field the “Willard Clapper Memorial Field.”

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