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Obituary: Father William Klapps, 84, retired Navy chaplain



Father William J. Klapps, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, died Sept. 17. He was 84 and had been a priest for 57 years.

Father Klapps,a native of Sugar Notch, Pa., was ordained in 1958 by Oblate Bishop Edward J. Scholtterback. He served as an associate pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Wilmington and St. John the Baptist-Holy Angels in Newark before being commissioned a chaplain in the U.S. Navy in 1969.

In nearly 23 years of service, he had a wide variety of assignments, including Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Va.,; National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk, San Francisco; Camp Pendleton, San Diego; and force chaplain, Fleet Marine Fore, Norfolk, Va. He also served in Vietnam, Japan and Sicily.

Father Klapps’ decorations and medals include the Legion of Merit, National Defense Medal, Bronze Star with combat “V,” Navy Commendation with combat “V,” Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Service Medal, Gold Star, Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals, and many others. He retired from the Navy in 1989 with the rank of captain and has been assisting at St. Matthew’s in Wilmington and other parishes ever since.

A viewing will take place at St. Matthew’s, 901 E. Newport Pike, Wilmington, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 6-8 p.m. Bishop Malooly will preside at a concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m.