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At "the Top of the World" on a trip to New York City, for over two decades Patti Clapp has been a grass roots volunteer. She has served the Dallas community at the Dallas Regional Chamber as Director of Leadership Development and Vice President of Education. As the Director of Leadership Development she led the revitalization of Leadership Dallas, a program that has created some of the city's best community leaders. She has been active in politics too, and was just named the Ballot Board Chair for the Dallas County Republican Party.

Patti Clapp: Wife, Mother, Community Leader, Cancer Survivor, Ballot Board Chair

For nearly 24 years, Patti Clapp served the Dallas Regional Chamber in a variety of critical roles, from Director of Leadership Development to Vice President of Education. As the Director of Leadership Development, she led the revitalization of Leadership Dallas which contributed to the continued success of one of the DRC’s most significant programs. A scholarship to Leadership Dallas was established in her honor.

In addition to her work with the chamber, Patti has had numerous leadership roles for decades in the political arena, and was just named the Ballot Board Chair for the Dallas County Republican Party, a key role to keep the local elections fair and balanced, encouraging voters to come out and vote.  

Born in Long Beach, California when her Dad was in the Navy, Patti moved with her family to Midwest City, Oklahoma when she was in fifth grade when her father was working with the Veteran’s Association. She high school years in Oklahoma City attending John Marshall High School. 

Patti went on to the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a BA in English. She met her husband Roger, also an OU graduate, just prior to their freshman year at OU. The two moved to Dallas in August of 1966 and will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary this August. Roger recently retired as a patent and trademark attorney.

The oldest of four, Patti has two sisters, Toni and Kathy, and a brother Jimmy. Toni and Jimmy live in Oklahoma City and Kathy lives in Tulsa.

Patty grew up wanting to be a teacher and began her career at the Lab School at OU, then at Northwest Classen in Oklahoma City and finally at Florence Junior High in Dallas.  Crazily, she was told by the Human Resources department of the Dallas Independent School District she was “too young and too short to teach in a high school.”

She taught junior high until her first daughter was born in 1968.  She then stayed home, to be her children’s first teacher, and volunteered when she could.  In 1987 Patti went to work for the Dallas Chamber of Commerce which is now the Dallas Regional Chamber. She worked there for over two decades, overseeing public policy, education, healthcare, leadership development. She eventually served as Vice President until August 2011 when she retired.

Staying home to raise her three children when they were young certainly paid off; Patti is proud of daughter Julie Clapp, the National Director of Wyldlife who lives in Dallas; son Doug Clapp, married to Sarah, Professor of the Classics at Samford University in Birmingham, father of her grandchildren Annie (4) and Nora (3); and daughter Catherine Stansberry, married to Brad, a partner with KPMG, who lives in New York City and is the mother of Timothy, (16), Elizabeth (14), Caroline (12) and Claire (8).

Patti had an Old English Sheepdog named Tuppence when the kids were young, but says, “Now we get our pet comfort when we visit our daughters, and see Old English, in Brooklyn, in NYC.”

Patty is a life-long volunteer and says, “I believe in giving back to my community and have spent my life volunteering and leading organizations that help in the community.”

She served for fifteen years on the Richardson School Board, chaired Tejas Girl Scout Council Board and their Foundation, Chair the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, served on the Board of Visitors for the College of Arts and Sciences at OU, and is serving her second term now as Vice President on the Texas Board of Nursing, appointed by Gov, Perry and reappointed by Gov Abbott.  She was appointed by Governor Bush to the Trinity River Authority and reappointed to that Board by Governor Perry.  Patti has served as a precinct chair since the mid-seventies:Patti has volunteered on a full-time basis as chair of precinct organization for the Dallas County Republican Party under Fred Meyer, and her husband also served as chair of Ballot Security for Fred Meyer.

If this sounds like hard work, Patti loves it. She admits the most fun time she had was speaking at an education conference at Texas A& M.  “The speakers had lunch in their apartment with President and Barbara Bush.  There were about eight of us and the meal and conversation were wonderful.”

Patti played the clarinet all through high school, and still has it in her home, but says, “I doubt if I could play an on key note today!”

She also reads constantly. And she says, “Roger and I love to travel. Several of our favorite places are Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia during the fall to enjoy their Celtic Music Festival. And the Biltmore Inn at Asheville, anytime of the year.” She also loves San Francisco, but adds, “except for the politics – I love the scenery.”

Although she keeps a positive outlook on life, Patti has also had setbacks. The toughest one was when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 1997.  “I had no symptoms and was suddenly faced with surgery, chemo and radiation. My husband and my children and friends were the support that helped me through that time.” She explains, We took one day at a time.  I went back to work while attached to my chemo fanny pack and we cherished each day.”  Patti became involved in the American Cancer Society chairing its Dallas Board and becoming a spokesperson for colon cancer screening. 

Patti has lived all over the Dallas area, from Snyder Plaza (while Roger attended SMU Law School) to Lake Highlands after his graduation in 1969, to their current home in Royal Highlands which they built in 1975.

In five years Patti says she hopes to be happily “enjoying our children, grandchildren and my community” --the Community that Patti helped build. 


Patti Clapp can be contacted at: For more information on her new position in the Republican Party see: or the Dallas County Republican Facebook Page.


Judy Porter lives in Dallas and writes about local heroes and non-profits. Contact her to write your story:


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