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Never too old to change

At almost 100, Clipp switches team allegiances; still likes to help others

At almost 100, Clipp switches team allegiances; still likes to help others

October 18, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Team loyalties run deep in the Clipp family. So it came as a surprise to the family when David Clipp, the patriarch of a long line of Baltimore Orioles fans, switched allegiance and became a New York Yankees fan.

The change came when Clipp's favorite player, pitcher Mike Mussina, joined the New York Yankees. Clipp was 96.

"Down deep, he's an Orioles fan," said Donnie Clipp, one of David Clipp's sons. "We hated to see Baltimore get rid of Mussina, but not enough to switch to the Yankees. We don't hold any grudges."

The oldest male resident at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro, Clipp stays up late watching post-season baseball action on TV in his room. He has been a resident at Reeders for almost 11 years.

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His 100th birthday coming this Thursday, Clipp says he's never been big on birthday celebrations. Instead, he celebrates each day as it comes.

"I never make any plans," Clipp said. "I like to help other people a lot and feel better when I do that."

His family, which includes five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, plans to gather on his birthday. Even Willard Scott of "The Today Show" should be delivering Clipp greetings on his birthday.

Born on Oct. 21, 1904, in Charles Town, W.Va., to Henry and Virginia Clipp, David Edwin ("Eddie") was one of eight children - four sons and four daughters. He said his parents were good to their children.

The family moved to Hagerstown when David was about 12. He attended Winter Street School, but never went to high school.

Instead, Clipp went to work and over the years worked at the Cannon Shoe Factory, Moller Organ Co. and Fairchild Aircraft. He retired, then kept active doing odd jobs, including helping his son, Donnie, with his 7-Eleven store on Salem Avenue.

Clipp was married twice. He and his first wife, Helen, had one son, Charles, who turned 80 this year. Clipp remarried after she died of cancer.

He was married to his second wife, Catherine "Katie" Foltz, for 65 years before her death in February, 2003. They had lived at 141 Alexander St. in Hagerstown since 1954.

It was a marriage filled with love and Clipp really misses his wife, he said.

Katie was the first woman hired at the downtown A&P grocery store and she worked as a cashier there for 32 years.

They had identical twin sons, Donnie and Ronnie, born to the couple after 17 years of marriage, when they were both in their 40s. The twins turned 50 this year.

Clipp recalls the phone call he received from his sister while at work at Fairchild - neither he nor his wife were aware she was pregnant with twins.

"She said 'Are you standing up or sitting down? You better sit down. You don't have one boy, you have two'," Clipp said. "My boss told me to get to the hospital."

Cooking was something Clipp enjoyed and he was known to cook Sunday dinner when family members came over after church. Donnie Clipp, of Hagerstown, remembers his father's fried chicken, ham and macaroni and cheese.

While not a big fan of frosting, David Clipp loves the applesauce cake his granddaughter makes and his favorite pie is egg custard.

"He's a good father. He always provided for us," Donnie Clipp said. "There may not have been an abundance, but there was always food on the table."

When not watching baseball on TV, Clipp likes to watch game shows and Westerns for entertainment.

Clipp has never had surgery and is in good health, although he has had some hearing loss with age. He still reads the morning newspaper daily and has never needed a walker or cane to get around.

A longtime member of Grace United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Clipp has no advice for longevity. "I leave that to the man up above," he said.

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