In Memory Of
Panola County Sheriffs Office, TX
End of watch: 1979-12-06
Aircraft: unknown helicopter
Sheriff David L. Clabaugh died as a result of being struck by a helicopter rotor blade.
Thoughts and Memories of David Clabaugh
David Clabaugh was my grandfather. He died when I was in first grade, but I had so many great memories of him as a loving, energetic man. It was apparent to me, even at that young age, that people respected him greatly. I was always proud to be with him.
David Clabaugh was a dear friend of my family. My Father, Paul Israel, was the Fire Chief in Lake Jackson, Texas, and I assume that he met Mr. Clabaugh when they were teaching at the Texas A&M Fire School. My grandparents had a cabin on Lake Murvaul and we spent most of our family vacations at the Lake. Any time we were in East Texas, we went to Carthage to see the Clabaughs. We loved them like family and had great respect for Mr. Clabaugh. We would go visit them in town, then in later years at their ranch in the country. I remember fishing and paddling around their pond in a flat bottom boat and riding on one of his cows. He and his wife were so kind and accommodating when we were in their home. I was 14 years old when Mr. Clabaugh died and I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at the time. My family was devastated. It was as if we had lost a member of our family. He was a fine man and a true hero. I recently attended a memorial service at the Texas A&M fire field honoring my Father, who passed away last year. I saw Mr. Clabaugh's name on the Memorial wall as well and remembered all of the good times we shared with the Clabaughs in Carthage. I Googled his name and found this Memorial. I hope his family will read this and know how many lives he touched.
Paula (Israel) Matzke
When I was a small child, I lived in Carthage. My dad was a member of the fire dept. with David. My dad always looked up to David. I have a picture of David and myself taken when I was 3 or 4 during the Christmas parade. This picture hangs on the wall in my home, along with many other pictures I have of my almost 24 years in the fire service. I remember that when David was killed it was one of the few times I saw my Dad cry.