Friday, December 26, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 26, 2008

I don't care how poor a person is;
if they have family, they're rich.

~Dan Wilcox

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello everyone on this day after Christmas. Cindy and I are in Anacortes celebrating Christmas with our family here. I hope your family gathering yesterday was as pleasant and joyful as ours was. I say that despite the fact that the Northwest is having heavy snow and cold weather.

Can you believe it: the first family email I sent was exactly a year ago, on the last Friday of 2007. After an entire year of family pictures and ponderings, I must say that there are still many more pictures to share and much more conversation to be had. I continue to welcome your emails about our family and invite you to send any pictures, new or old, that you would like to share. I also invite you to let me know of others who would like to be added to our mailing list. Thanks to all of you for the interest and support you have expressed.

26th ANNIVERSARY. This coming Wednesday is the 26th anniversary of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Medina Shepard. They were married on New Year's Eve in Abilene, Texas, 1982. For most of their married life they have lived in the Great Northwest. They and their kids Chris, Rachel, and Patrick, presently make their home in Kenmore, Washington, a suburb northeast of Seattle. Darrell works for ProSource Wholesale Floorcovering in Bothell, and Mary manages a retirement community named The Ballard Landmark in Seattle. Happy anniversary to Darrell and Mary!

The first picture I am including today is of Darrell and Mary in 1983. Darrell says, "This picture was taken when we were newly married, living in Abilene, Tex across the street from Abilene Christian while I was still working on my bachelor's degree and Mary was working at the Petroleum Club of Abilene. We were standing in front of the one bedroom apartment we rented on an alley behind the University Church of Christ. Our rent was 37 dollars a month!

"We had recently found out Mary was pregnant with Christopher, our first child. You, Steve, took this picture; today is the first time I have seen it. In the ba
ckground you can see the 1966 Ford Ranchero our dad gave to me when he and mom moved to Anacortes from San Diego. I drove it to Abilene with all my personal belongings in the back when I left San Diego in January of 1981 and entered college at ACU where I met Mary."

PAULINE SHEPARD RUSSELL. Sunday is the 92nd anniversary of the birthday of Pauline Shepard Russell. She was the first born child of Will and Bura Shepard, and arrived 3 days after Christmas in Sophia, (Beaver County) Oklahoma, in 1916. She died 10 years ago in Southern California, a year after her husband Bill Russell. Pauline and Bill are the parents of Rex Russell, the grandparents of Eric Russell and Shannon Wilk, and the great grandparents of little Emma Wilk. Shannon and Emma of Atchison, Kansas are the only two descendants of Pauline and Bill Russell that we presently have contact with. We are still unable to make contact with Rex and Eric Russell who, last we heard, live in the Reno, Nevada area.

The second picture I am including shows Bill and Pauline Russell in San Diego, soon after they and the rest of the family had moved to SoCal from Colorado. Pauline was a young mother of 2 (Rex, 7 and Bev, 4), and not quite 27 at the time. Thelma tells me this picture was taken at Gram and Grandad's home on Albatross St in San Diego in 1943. In the picture, from right to left, is Eugene Shepard, his sister Pauline, her husband Bill Russell, then Elmer Shepard. Dane reports that his Dad Elmer says this about the picture...

"It was taken in San Diego around the time that William and Bura managed their first boarding house. The young lady is Eloise Sackett from Two Buttes (Colorado). She had come to CA to stay with our family to finish her senior year of high school. He also added your dad had dated her at one time. The Sacketts were neighbors and our family had stored some belongings in their basement when they moved to San Diego. As for the young man, all Dad could remember was that his name was Bert, that he was from CO (not Two Buttes), and that he was a boarder of William and Bura.

40th ANNIVERSARY. Tomorrow Cindy and I celebrate 40 years of marriage. Hard to imagine. It does not seem that long ago that I came home to San Diego from Abilene Christian College for the Christmas holidays and Cindy and I were married. It was on a Friday evening, at the La Mesa Church of Christ, just two days after Christmas, 1968.

Shirt-tail relative Ed Kilpatrick, (one of the Kilpatrick's related to Gram's sisters) was the young minister of my home church, the Linda Vista Church of Christ, and officiated at our wedding. There were lots of Harris and Shepard family members and friends at our wedding and a good time was had by all. We were both just 20, still in college, and hardly knew what we were doing. But after 40 years we can both say it has been quite a ride, and we are ready for a few more years together.

Enjoy what's left of 2008, and celebrate how rich you are to be a part of this wonderful, diverse family of ours!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 19, 2008

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family
all wrapped up in each other.

-Burton Hillis

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

It is the Friday before Christmas. Can you believe it? You DO know who was born on Christmas Day, don't you? Do you need to pause and think about it before reading on? ;-)

That's right -- Grandad! 120 years ago, on Dec 25, 1888, William (no middle name) Shepard was born in Alton, Illinois to William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens Shepard. Grandad's father had been born in Wabash, Indiana in 1862, during the Civil War. So our Grandad, like his wife Bura, had his roots in the Hoosier State. From all indications, however, their families did not know each other until Will and Bura met about 1913 or 1914 in Beaver County, Oklahoma.

Between Indiana and Oklahoma, however, there was this period of time for our Shepard people in southwest Illinois, across the mighty Mississippi from St Louis. It was here that Grandad's father met and married Elvira Owens and where their son Will Shepard, our Grandad, grew up. His mother Elvira was part of an Owens family with deep roots in that area, some descendants of whom live there to this day. Roberta Owens Brooks of San Antonio Texas, with whom I correspond periodically, is a descendant of that part of our family, and is on our emailing list. She is a wonderful resource for information on the Owens family.

Our family's migration pattern began back East in Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, in the earliest years of American history. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries our ancestors moved westward through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee to Indiana and Illinois and settled there for most of the 19th century. Near the turn of the 20th century, some of them began moving southwest into Oklahoma, including Beaver County. That's where Will Shepard met and married Bura Davis in 1915. In 1928, with their first three children, they moved a short distance to Southeast Colorado, and after 12 years there, Will and Bura, now with 4 children, moved to San Diego in 1940. They have the distinction of being our family's bridge to the west coast. Since then, some of Will and Bura's descendants remain in San Diego, while others have moved north to Northern California and Washington, and others eastward to New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and still others to Kansas and Missouri.

The first picture I am including today is a collage of 4 pictures of Grandad, taken in 1915 (he and Gram's wedding picture), 1932 (no, not a prison mug shot!), 1946 (in San Diego) and 1974 (2 years before he died). He was a small town man who seemed to adjust pretty well to life in the city of San Diego later in his life. He was a rambler, a cowboy, a midwest cold weather survivor, a restless man who worked at many different things, and a raconteur who loved to tell stories.

He was a very important person for us because in many ways he sets the tone for maleness among Shepard men. He influences the kind of man each of us has become and is becoming. At least to some degree. What we strive for in life, how we relate to women, the kind of fathers we become, our attitudes toward other races or cultures, our religious beliefs, our assertiveness or passiveness, and much, much more, gets formed at least partially because of the kind of man he was.

His life spanned an amazing period in world history. In 1888 when he was born, there were no airplanes or cars, people traveled primarily by horseback or wagon or train, Mark Twain was very popular (in person!), and the US population was about 60 million. In 1976 when he died, NASA had sent men to the moon, the women's liberation movement was in full swing, and the US population was about 220 million. As we approach his 120th birthday, we remember with gratitude and respect this man whose life continues to be important to this family.

The second picture shows 3 of Will and Bura's 12 grandchildren (Joan Shepard, Dixon, CA; Kim Clark, Blue Springs, MO; and Dane Shepard, Newcastle, OK), one of their 20 great grandchildren (Amanda Ortiz, Blue Springs, MO), and the youngest of their 4 children (Thelma Boyd, Gallup, NM). This picture was taken earlier this year at Dane's home in Oklahoma.

Every one have a joyous Christmas! May you be blessed with "the best of all gifts around the Christmas tree".

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 12, 2008

The family is one of nature's masterpieces.
- George Santayana

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello from San Diego in the midst of this Christmas season. If you are like us, you are very busy preparing for family gatherings, celebrating Christmas, and getting ready to do some traveling for the holidays. Family means a lot to most of us at Christmastime, which is one of the reasons it can be called one of nature's masterpieces.

Thursday of this coming week is the anniversary of the birthday of two of our ancestors, twin boys, with the names Salathiel and Salatis Davis, born Dec 18, 1856. (How did they come up with these kinds of names back then!?) One can only guess at how they nicknamed those two. Their older brother, Charles Edward Davis (pretty boring name by comparison), was Gram's (Bura Davis Shepard's) paternal grandfather, and therefore my generation's G,G,Grandfather.

Salathiel is the name of an Old Testament character, and is listed among the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1); while Salatis is the name of an ancient Egyptian King. Impressed yet? Their parents, Alexander and Jane Davis, had 10 children all together, including the one from whom we are directly descended, Charles Edward Davis. Among their other children was a daughter, to whom they gave the marvelous name "Samilda Dorcas Davis". (By the way, when I googled "Samilda", the very first entry that came up was a reference to her! It was a "Pedigree report of Samilda Dorcas Davis, daughter of Alexander Davis and Jane Buskirk, born on November 10th, 1853 near Spencer, Indiana." Pretty cool, huh?

Born in 1853, Samilda married a childhood friend named James Medaris in 1875, who later became a physician. They were both born in Spencer, Indiana (Gram's birthplace in 1896), but in 1893 when Oklahoma's Cherokee Strip opened to settlement, Samilda and James migrated there and settled northwest of Enid, near the property of Samilda's brother William Davis. They eventually made their home near there and helped found the little town of Helena, Oklahoma. They were among the founders of the Church of Christ in Helena.

When Gram's (Bura's) family moved to Oklahoma from Indiana in 1912, they were following in the footsteps of Samilda, James and some other family who were already there. If you are interested you can select this link to find more information online about the lives of James and Samilda Davis Medaris.

The first picture I am including today is two old pictures in one. (Click on the picture to see a larger view of it.) The left hand side (taken about 1885) shows Samilda, her husband Dr. James Medaris, and 4 of their children. The right side (taken 35 years later, about 1920) shows Samilda's brother Charles Edward Davis (in the beard) with his son James Brooks Davis, Gram's father.

The looks on the faces of these family members from so long ago are so different from the pictures we take today, aren't they? They reveal a much more serious approach to life, a somber mood, almost a hardened resignation to the way life was. At the very least there is a certain awe for very nature of that marvelous new invention known as "the camera".

The other picture was taken on Veteran's Day last month and shows Air Force Veteran Elmer Shepard. It was sent to me by his son Dane Shepard, who said that this is "a picture of Dad I took today in honor of Veteran's Day. We [took] him to the Golden Corral restaurant which is a chain that offers a free meal to veterans on Veteran's Day."

Don't forget that Dane will soon be setting a date for next summer's family reunion in Oklahoma. (The reunion will take place near Dane, who lives just 130 miles from where Samilda and James settled some 115 years ago.) Dane needs your input on the particular day for the reunion, if you have a preference between June 20 or 27 or July 18.

If you have a picture or two of your family gathering this holiday season, please email it to me. I would be glad to share it with the rest of the family.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 5, 2008

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello everyone on this first Friday in December. Can you believe 2009 is just a few weeks away? I trust that all your plans for Christmas are progressing well and that it will be a wonderful holiday time for you and yours.

Today is the 18th birthday of Darrell and Mary's son Patrick Shepard of Kenmore, Washington. He is the fourth and final one in our family to turn 18 this year. The others in our family who had their 18th birthday this year are: Steven Paul Shepard (in March), Courtney Boyd (in May), and Lyndsay Aquiningoc (in August).

Speaking of teenagers, here's an interesting and encouraging family fact: of all the direct descendants of Will and Bura Shepard living today, 40% of them (16) are teenagers or younger! Over 50% are under 30 years old. It is hard to believe that our family is so young.

The first picture I am including today is actually a collection of pictures of Patrick over the past 18 years. Select the link below to see the photo presentation.

The other picture I am including today is an old family photo taken Christmas Day in 1967, 41 years ago. This is one of the pictures that Dane sent me recently from his father's photo collection. Click on the picture to see a larger view of it.

On the back row are: Phil Wilk, Rex Russell, Karl, and Gene; the middle row: Joan, Bev, Pauline, Will, Bura, Dane, Steve, Darrell, Maida and Bill; the front row: Barbara, Russell, Kim, Ellen, Beryl, Linda and Elmer.

These 21 folks represent Will and Bura's entire family in 1967. The only absentees were Thelma, Terry and Darren Boyd (who may have been late arriving); and Gary and his wife Jackie, who were living in Michigan at the time. This picture may have been taken at Elmer and Beryl's home on Osage Trail near El Cajon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Nov 28, 2008

Families are like fudge -
mostly sweet with a few nuts.
- author unknown

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello from San Diego on this week of Thanksgiving. I hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant and joyful. Our family had gatherings yesterday all over the country -- from Northern and Southern California, to Washington, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and even Utah. And probably elsewhere! (If you took a picture of your family yesterday, email it to me. It might find its way into a family email!)

I am grateful that in the midst of our diverse lives we can celebrate the family we are, and find meaning in the relationships we share and the family history that binds us together.

The first picture I am including today I found in the photo archives of my mom some months ago, and I do not know the circumstances or the location, although it was probably taken in San Diego. The back of the photo says December, 1982. It shows a proud uncle Darren Boyd holding his nephew Jeremy Ortiz, Kim Clark's oldest son, when Jeremy was 2.

The second picture was taken earlier this year and shows birthday kids Kim Clark and her grandson Damian Ortiz, Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz's youngest son, who will turn 2 tomorrow. Grandma Kim and young Damian share Nov 29 as their birthday, and will celebrate tomorrow at a family gathering at a restaurant in La Mesa. Happy Birthday to both of you! Kim and husband Jeff are in the San Diego area visiting from Blue Springs, Missouri.

Damian, at 2 years old, is the youngest of the 8 great, great, grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. The other seven are Lyndsey and Mandi Aquiningoc, Nate and Kyle Sauvage (Weatherford, Texas), Ciara and Ashlyn Ortiz (El Cajon, Ca), and Emma Wilk (Atchison, Kansas). What an impressive group! And they are just the beginning of this 4th generation after Gram and Grandad.

The latest news on Mary Shepard in the Seattle area is that her cancer surgery was very successful. It appears that no chemo will be needed and the expectation is that there will be no recurrence of the cancer. Thanksgiving had very special meaning for them yesterday.

A reminder: in a few weeks Dane Shepard needs to set the date for the family reunion next summer in Oklahoma. Let him know if you have a preference between the three dates that he has suggested: June 20 or 27 or July 18, 2009.
Steve (one of the nuts in the family fudge)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Nov 21, 2008

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello from San Diego, California where Cindy and I have just moved. We are still figuring out what to do in our retirement, but for now it will mean having our primary residence here in the city where we grew up. Cindy says, "Retirement is a hoot!" Our email addresses will remain the same, as will our cell phones, for now.

It is the week before Thanksgiving and I am grateful for several things: I am thankful that Mary Shepard's surgery earlier this week in Seattle was successful. Darrell reports that the doctor felt everything went as well as could be expected. More will be known next week, but for now the news is good.

I am also thankful that Dane Shepard is willing to host our next family reunion in Oklahoma next summer. He is still waiting to hearing from us, if we have a preference among the possible days he is suggesting for the reunion, which are June 20, 27 or July 18 -- all Saturdays in 2009.

I am also grateful that Dane has spent time recently scanning some old family pictures, and passing them on. Both pictures I am including today I received from him recently.

The first picture is a gem, a newly scanned old photo, taken on Thanksgiving Day 55 years ago in Alpine, California, just east of San Diego. It shows 4 Shepard cousins, from left to right: Dane, Linda, Steve (me), and Gary. (Gary, please tell us what were you so happy about. You look like the cat that swallowed the canary!) Dane's parents, Elmer and Beryl, lived in Alpine for a few years in the early 1950s, an enjoyable place where the family occasionally gathered for holidays.

The second picture is of 90 year old Elmer Shepard, taken earlier this month with his son Dane, Dane's wife Cindy (Saunders), and their children Nathan and Kaylan. In an email I received from Dane, he refers not only to this picture, but also to Aunt Margie Millikan who passed away recently. He also answers the trivia question I raised last week in reference to the picture of Gram and Aunt Margie.

"In answer to your trivia question, the photographer was probably using a box camera [a "Brownie"] which had a viewing window in the upper right corner on TOP of the box which you held at waist level and looked down on. I still have one, and as a teenager I experimented with one using it for timed and multiple exposures. Dad said that when living in Two Buttes he received one when Kodak distributed box cameras to all 12 year olds. He didn't know if this was nation wide.

"I was sorry to hear
of Aunt Margie passing away as I hadn't had the opportunity of locating her in Tulsa (two hours away). It would have been good to have seen her.

"I have also included a Veteran's Day picture of us with Elmer holding a picture taken in Lincoln, Neb. in 1945, right before he was discharged. Shortly after his discharge, he took the train from Omaha to Tulsa to visit with Margie and family. He had obtained a private pilot's license and took Margie and her son Jack for a plane ride."

Thanks so much, Dane, for these interesting historical notes.

Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving this coming week, wherever you are and with whomever you will gather. Thank God for the family we are, the relationships we share, and the ties that bind us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Nov 14

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand,
you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.

All of them are alive in this moment.

Each is present in your body.

You are the continuation of each of these people.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Good morning from the cool mountains of Northern California, where the nights are getting cold and the days are brisk, and the sunshine reminds me that life is good and always to be celebrated.

Cousin Dane Shepard has suggested three possible dates for the family reunion next summer in Oklahoma: June 20 or 27, or July 18. Which of those three Saturdays will work best for you? Let Dane ( know your preference among those three -- if you have one -- so that he can set the date and we can all begin our planning. Or let me know and I can pass the word to him. He wants to set a date by the end of the year.

This Sunday is the anniversary of the birthday of John Pouty Williams, an ancestor with the common name for our family, William, but with an unusual middle name of Pouty, a name not found among any other relative. He was born 202 years ago, in 1806, and lived just long enough to witness the arrival into the world of his great granddaughter, Bura Davis. He is our reminder that we each carry some "longevity genes" within us. He died at the ripe old age of 92 (VERY old for that day) in Spencer, Indiana, shortly after Gram's first birthday. Since Gram was born in that same little town southwest of Indianapolis, I would like to think that this aging nanogenarian had the opportunity to bounce baby Bura on his knees sometime before he died. Bura was his great granddaughter by way of his youngest daughter Maggie Williams (John Pouty and his wife Sarah had 9 other children before Maggie!). Maggie's picture appears in the post of June 20, 2008 of this blog.

Maggie's granddaughter Bura Davis was the oldest of 7 children, all born in Spencer, Indiana. I have shared before that the family migrated to Beaver County, Oklahoma in 1912 when Gram was only 15. At the time her youngest sibling Marjorie was only 4 years old. What you may not know is that "Aunt Margie" outlived all her siblings and died just last Thursday in Tulsa Oklahoma at the age of 100. So while John Pouty's life of 92 years spanned nearly the entire 19th century, his great granddaughter Margie's life of 100 years spanned nearly the entire 20th century.

The quote above from Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of the ways that our ancestors impact the lives we live today, especially our physical lives. I am grateful for the lives of John Pouty and Bura and Marjorie, whose combined 282 years carry with it the promise of long life for us, their descendants, if we take care of ourselves.

The first picture I am including today is a picture of Gram with 2 of her 4 sisters, Winona on the left and Marjorie in the middle. The picture was taken in November, 1957 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Here is the obituary of Gram's sister Marjorie Davis, the last of her generation, from last Sunday's edition of the Tulsa World.

Marjorie [Davis] Millikan Williams, 100, passed peacefully from this life November 6, 2008. This special person will be forever remembered in the hearts of her family and her friends. She was born December 27, 1907, in Spencer, Indiana. Her family moved to Beaver County, OK in 1912. She, John, and their sons moved to Tulsa in 1942. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Millikan (after 41 years of marriage); husband, A. C. Williams (after 12 years of marriage); son James Brooks Millikan; daughter-in- law Ila Millikan and 6 siblings [including Bura Davis]. In her early years she taught school, farmed, became "Rosie the Riveter" during WWII, was an LPN nurse, and sold real estate. She was a life-long member of the Church of Christ, and one of the joys of her life was teaching third-grade Sunday School class for 52 years. She won many blue ribbons at the Tulsa State Fair with her various entries. Survived by: sons and their wives, Arlen Millikan; Gary and Barbara Millikan; Jack and Karen Millikan; step-sons and their wives, Wayne and Rosie Williams, Don and Yvonne Williams; Bill and Mary Williams; 4 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; 2 great- great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, November 14th at the Memorial Drive Church of Christ. Interment at Memorial Park.

Do you see the shadow of the photographer in the picture above? Here is a trivia question for today: From the position of the elbows of the photographer, it appears that the camera is being held at about stomach level rather than in front of the photographer's face. Why? (I will give you the answer next week. )

The second picture I am including today shows the birthday girl from last month, Kori Lynn Boyd, with her mom Vicki and dad Darren, and her older sister Courtney and older brother Brandyn. They all live in Lakeside, California. Darren is Terry and Thelma's son.

I received an email from Mary Shepard this past week that I would like to pass on to you: "Thanks for all of the prayers, I really feel that the power of prayer is working. I went for my pre-op appointment with my surgeon yesterday and felt a shield of comfort when we were talking. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am on Monday the 17th of this month. I check in at 6am, so please do pass the word and let everyone know how appreciative I am and how loved I feel. Thanks."

Our prayers continue for Mary and her family as she prepares for her surgery in Seattle this coming Monday.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Shepard Family Update, November 7, 2008

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order;
to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life;
and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

- Confucius

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello on a wonderful Friday in San Diego where this week's email originates. The election is over and there are no more political phone calls or commercials on TV. Praise be to God!

Tomorrow is the 112th anniversary of the birthday of Bura Davis, who died 22 years ago. She, of course, along with her husband William Shepard, form the couple who is at the heart of this family blog. All of us are their descendants, or family or friends of their descendants. I am sure you share with me a deep appreciation for the lives of these two and the values they taught us. They were not perfect people -- none of us are! -- but we can be grateful for the legacy of love they left us.

Gram was a slight woman all her life -- I bet she never weighed over 110 lbs, maybe not even that much -- but she had a big heart, and was without a doubt the spiritual center of her family. I was her fourth grandchild, born when she was only 51. She was the bearer of the religious torch for our Shepard family. She was proud of the fact that her parents and grandparents had been good Church of Christ members as far back as anyone could remember, probably to the very beginnings of the "Restoration Movement" of early 19th century America. I have heard that William Shepard even met her at the South Flat Church of Christ near Elmwood, Oklahoma, sometime before 1915, when they were married there.

It is hard to imagine the impact on her of the changes that occurred in her family and in her world during her lifetime (1896 to 1986). Had she or Grandad lived until today, the election of Barack Obama, the first black American to become president, would certainly have left them absolutely astounded, perhaps even dismayed! I always had the impression though, that Gram accepted the cultural changes she experienced with grace and strength, even though with some misgivings. She was serious and caring, and not a gregarious woman, and was characterized by the stoicism of mid-America, having been raised a Hoosier. She did have a sense of humor, and I can still recall that unique laugh of hers. Grandad was the man of the family, and was the funny one of the two, but she was as steady as the rock of Gibraltar.

I still sometimes find it hard to believe that she has been gone for over 20 years, and Grandad for over 30 years. To put things in perspective, nearly half of our present family was born since Grandad passed away.

The first picture I am including today shows Bura (Gram) as a young mother of 22. This picture was taken in 1919, when Woodrow Wilson was nearing the end of his second term as President. She and Grandad had been married about 4 years and had two children at the time, Pauline and Elmer, who are in the picture with her. It is not the best quality picture, but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to photos this old! And it certainly does not flatter her. But it does show her love for her family and her background presence, where she usually made the biggest impact. After all, women did not even have the right to vote in the U.S. until the year after this picture was taken!

Okay, trivia question for this election week... Who was president of the U.S. when Bura Davis (Gram) was BORN? Think about it for a moment before reading on.

While you are thinking, let me say that the second picture I am including today shows my musical brother Darrell Shepard. Did you know that he is part of a band known as "Midlife Chrysler"? Visit their website to find out more about them and their schedule.

The picture is actually two pictures in one: the left half of the picture shows him way before the term "mid-life" was even in his vocabulary, much less part of the name for his band. It may have been taken when he was a student at Abilene Christian University. He will have to confirm that for me. The right half of the picture shows him just a few years ago. (Around the one and only time that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the Super Bowl.)

Did you think about the trivia question above? Here is the answer: Democrat Grover Cleveland was the lame duck president on Gram's birthday, Nov 8, 1896. BUT Republican William McKinley was "President-elect." He had won the presidency just 5 days before she was born.

On the day of her birth, I wonder if THEY were glad there were no more political commercials on TV!? ;-)

One last bit of trivia, and the final presidential comment: 4 years to the day before Gram was born, incumbent President Benjamin Harrison was defeated in his bid for re-election. Harrison was the only Church of Christ member (he was even a minister!) to ever be president of the United States.
- - -

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shepard Family Update, October 30

If you don't know your family's history,
then you don't know anything.
You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.
- Michael Crichton

Dear Shepard Family and Friends,

Aloha to all of you, and Happy Halloween from Maui, Hawaii, where Cindy and I have taken our mothers -- Paula Harris of San Diego and Maida Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. Nothing "scary" is happening with us right now. Instead we are happy to report that "the girls" have been very well behaved to this point! We will see what happens Saturday, however. In addition to being All Saints Day (woo-hoo!), it is also Maida's 84th birthday and we plan to celebrate!

Maida is, of course, one of only four remaining members of our family from the first generation after Will and Bura Shepard. She became their first daughter-in-law 63 years ago this past spring. That's when she married the young military man Eugene Shepard, during WWII, in a small private ceremony in the parsonage of the El Cajon Blvd Church of Christ in San Diego.

It is hard for most of us to appreciate what an amazing, hectic time the early 1940s were for our family.
  • In September of 1940 Will and Bura Shepard moved their family from a tiny Colorado farming community to the booming metropolis of San Diego (undoubtedly with some major culture shock!).
  • In 1941, the U.S. entered WWII, with San Diego being a major center of the effort.
  • By 1942 Eugene and Elmer were both in the military, Elmer flying in the Air Force and Eugene sailing in the Navy.
  • By 1943, over 100,000 U.S. men had died in the war.
  • Maida (at that time Maida "Gower") moved from Oklahoma to San Diego in late 1942, just in time to graduate from San Diego High School in the spring of 1943.
  • A year later she and Eugene met and began a long distance romance; and in May of 1945 they were married, even though he was stationed 100 miles away in Orange County at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station.
  • In December of that year Eugene was discharged from the military and 3 months later Maida would give birth to their first child Gary.

Maida's next 33 birthdays would be spent with Eugene in San Diego, where they raised their 6 children. Her last 30 birthdays have been spent in Anacortes, Washington, where they retired in 1978. Since she has always enjoyed traveling, it is only fitting that her 84th birthday be spent in Hawaii, at a nice restaurant sipping fine Champagne. We toast the good health of both our mothers and plan to celebrate many more birthdays with them!

The first picture I am including was taken in San Diego in early 1945, while WWII was still raging, and shows birthday girl Maida Gower with Eugene and Elmer Shepard, in uniform.

This coming Thursday is the Birthday of Havilah Colgain who lives in Auburn, Calif. She is the 8th great grandchild of Will and Bura Shepard; the daughter of Joan Shepard, and the grand daughter of Elmer Shepard.

The second picture I am including today shows Havilah and her father Art at the 1994 Shepard Family Reunion in Anacortes. Among the things she does these days is help people with their travel plans. is her business website. Happy Birthday, Havilah!
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shepard Family Update, October 22

You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you,
as you are to them.

- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Aloha Shepard Family Members and Friends,

Salutations from San Diego, where Cindy and I (and our mothers!) are about to board a ship and sail away to Hawaii, on this beautiful day in late October. One of the readers of this blog responded to last week's post and said that my comments sounded sad and depressing. In particular when I said I was feeling pensive and reflective, and that I was getting older. Whatever I was feeling at the time, it has now disappeared, as we anticipate our sea cruise across the vast Pacific!

You may not know that this blog, "The Shepard's Crook", has evolved over the last few years. For all of 2008 it has been exclusively a family blog, with weekly postings devoted to William Shepard (1888-1976) and Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986), their descendants and ancestors, as well as their families and friends. Before 2008 it was the place I posted articles I had written for a Church I served until last year. Most of the archives in this blog now relate to the Shepard family, and it has become a rich resource for stories and pictures related to our family. Nearly a hundred different family pictures are found here! My hope and plan is that it will continue to be a place where old and new family pictures and stories will be found. But don't be surprised if you happen to come across some postings in the older archives that are not necessarily family related.

Next Thursday, October 30 is the Birthday of Pam (Engan) Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. The first picture I am including shows Russ and Pam on their wedding day in the summer of 1986. (Can you tell that Russ was a little distracted that day?)

One of the things I remember about their wedding was Bura's (Gram's) presence. Grandad had been gone for about 10 years, she was nearing her 90th birthday, and she had some trouble getting around. During the wedding she spent most of her time in a wheel chair, but we were all very pleased that she could be there, and she seemed to enjoy herself. Since she died the following month, it was probably the last family event that she attended. Russ and Pam's marriage ceremony was a garden wedding on a beautiful day in August in front of the Shepard home on Wildwood Lane. 22 years later now, Pam and Russ continue to make their home in Anacortes and are the proud parents of Steven (18) and Linda (15). Best wishes for a very Happy Birthday, Pam!

This comng Sunday, Oct 26, is the 16th birthday of Mandi Aquiningoc! Mandi is the younger daughter of Kerri Aquiningoc of Weatherford, Texas, the granddaughter of Gary Shepard, and the second great granddaughter of Maida Shepard. That makes her one of the great, great, grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. Mandi was born in 1992 in San Diego just a few months after the unfortunate death of her father, Manuel Aquiningoc. Mandi's earliest years were spent growing up in San Diego, but several years ago her part of the family moved to Weatherford, Texas where they now make their home. She is a junior at Weatherford High School.

Instead of just one picture, today I am including with this post a collection of pictures of Mandi. Just click "play" below to see the pictures. Happy 16th Birthday, Mandi!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shepard Family Update, October 17

Family faces are magic mirrors.
Looking at people who belong to us,
we see the past, present, and future.

-Gail Lumet Buckley

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from our home in the mountains of California, where autumn has definitely arrived. We even got a little snow a few days ago, and our fireplace has suddenly become active again. This has never been my favorite time of the year, unlike many people who love autumn. But the older I get, the more my mind may be changing on that score. I find it a pensive, reflective season, and as the years go by, the more I find myself becoming exactly that. Anyone else have that experience?

Today is the Birthday of Art Colgain, the father of Havilah Colgain. Art was in our hearts and prayers this past summer when his wife died in an auto accident in Utah, where he lives. Havilah (daughter of Joan Shepard, granddaughter of Elmer Shepard) continues to be a great support to her father through this difficult time, with regular trips from her home in Auburn, California, to Utah to visit her dad. Our prayers and best wishes are with them. The first picture I am sending today shows Art with his first wife Joan and his daughter Havilah, when she was but an infant. (We knew how to grow hair back then, didn't we?)

Tomorrow is the 11th birthday of Kori Lynn Boyd, the second youngest of the 20 great grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. Her parents are Darren and Vicki Boyd of Lakeside, Calif., and her grandparents are Thelma and Terry Boyd of Gallup, N.M. The second picture I am sending today shows Kori earlier this year. Her auntie (the generous giver of the picture) tells me that the person with Kori is Hannah Montana. Okay, it's probably not Hannah Montana, but a look-a-like, who is unrelated to Kori (except perhaps for their common affinity for the megastar).

Misteaks happen. Two weeks ago I referred to the birthday of Bill Russell on October 8, 1908. Actually he was born October 18, 1908. Thanks to Kim and Thelma for that correction. They knew that Uncle Bill and Kori Boyd share the same birthday. By the way, if I don't mention your birthday when it rolls around, it is most likely because I do not have the date. If that is the case, please drop me an email and let me know what it is.

Update on Mary's health condition. Darrell's wife Mary will be having surgery on Nov 17 to remove the kidney that they believe is cancerous. They are very hopeful about the surgery and her recovery. But our prayers of support for Mary need to continue.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Shepard Family Update, October 10

Hello Shepard Family Members and Friends,

We made it back from our Spain trip last weekend and got off the plane in San Francisco with wicked head colds, but are doing much better now. Here is a link to some pictures from that trip.

I received word from Dane recently, who said that his Dad Elmer's operation went well. "It was outpatient surgery where they made two small incisions on his spine and applied cement/glue to his compression fracture. He came out of surgery doing well and ate all of the light meal they gave him. He seems to get disoriented whenever he returns home and this time he was very uncomfortable from the soreness of his operation. He laments that he was doing well until this episode. He was bending over and making his bed when it occurred. He'll have to be more careful with lifting and bending in the future. I think his back will be fine. This type of surgery has a high success rate. Lord willing, we can all make plans for next summer's reunion."

Speaking of next year's family reunion in Oklahoma, Dane and Kim are still thinking about when would be the best time for the reunion. If there are certain parts of the summer that would be better or worse for you, please let one of them, or me, know. They want to set a date that will work best for everyone.

Kim emailed me from Gallup, New Mexico, recently. "Jeff and my mom did some research yesterday and found all of Nona Kilpatrick's family. They are in Bolivar, MO. My mom called Norma Lou Allen and we are going to meet them in about a month. They are having a Davis/Kilpatrick reunion in 2 years in Branson, MO and they are inviting all of us. You got us motivated to find people - it's fun." Two of Bura Davis Shepard's (Gram's) sisters married Kilpatrick brothers, which gives us a couple of linkages to that family.

I am including two pictures - the first one illustrates the connection between the Shepard family and the Davis-Kilpatrick family. (Click on the image to see a larger view of it.) It is a picture of Will and Bura (Grandad and Gram) with Myra Davis (Gram's sister) and her husband Will Allen Kilpatrick. This picture was taken in 1958 in San Diego, when Myra and Will Allen were visiting from Oklahoma.

The other picture was taken just a few weeks ago and shows Kim Clark with husband Jeff and daughter Amanda, along with Dane and Cindy Shepard and their children Nathan and Kaylan. Thanks, Dane, for sending me both these pictures. In the picture of you and your family, is that a Christmas display in the background? In September? (Is this is one of those crazy results of the financial meltdown? Say it isn't so!)

Two other health concerns to report to you: I received word this week that Thelma had cataract surgery recently in Gallup, N.M., and will have some more next Wednesday. We're glad you are doing well, Thelma, and that the surgery was successful.

My brother Darrell wrote me to say that "Mary was tested this week and she does have cancer of the kidney. They are recommending surgery to remove the cancerous kidney. We will meet with the surgeon tomorrow (Friday) to talk about a date and time. Feel free to include this news in your weekly family emails." Our prayers and very best wishes are with Thelma and Mary (and Elmer) as they deal with important health matters.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Shepard Family Update, October 3

Hola! Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from beautiful El Vendrell, Spain, on the Mediterranean coast, where Cindy and I are about to conclude our vacation here.

Next Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Bill Russell. Many of you may not even know who he is. He was Will and Bura Shepard´s first son in law, having married their oldest child, our aunt Pauline. Uncle Bill was a most remarkable man who had a leg amputated when a teenager and lived with an artificial leg for most of his life. He loved to sit next to the youngest child at family gatherings and wait for the shock on their faces when they bumped up against his artificial leg. It sounds a little bizarre when I mention this now - but at the time it was all a part of the amusing personality of this man that many of us knew as uncle Bill. To some, including Shannon Wilk, he was known instead as grandfather. Bill died in 1998 in San Diego at 89 years old.

I am including two pictures. The first is an old one that shows 37 year old uncle Bill Russell on the left, along with a number of other family members, a few of whom were visiting from Oklahoma. (Click on the picture to see a larger view.) The picture was taken in Tijuana Mexico in 1946, just a few years after the Shepards had moved from Colorado to San Diego. We have several old pictures of family members in Tijuana in the early 1940s indicating that it was a popular place to visit in those days, especially with out of state relatives, as is the case in this particular picture. Tijuana is still a popular vacation destination for San Diegans, although surely it took less time to get back and forth across the border 62 years ago than the 2 hours or more that it takes today!

In the picture with uncle Bill is aunt Pauline Shepard Russell in the very front with Thelma (aged 10) next to her. Sitting on the Donkey/Zebra (?!) are Beverly (7) and Rex Russell (10). On the far right in the tie is Grandad (Will Shepard) with Gram (Bura Shepard) next to him. On the back row in the middle is Uncle Levy Pruett; in front of him and to his right, in the black dress, is his wife aunt Sadie Shepard Pruett. The other three people I cannot identify but I am fairly certain they, like aunt Sadie and uncle Levy, were visiting from Oklahoma. Thelma, Maida, or Elmer, can you help us out by identifying these people?

The other picture was taken just last week, also in a spanish speaking foreign country. It shows me and Cindy and our traveling friend Linda Tanner in Barcelona, Spain. In the background is the National Art Museum of Catalonia, which is located on the site of the 1992 summer Olympic games.

I received an email stating that Mary Shepard is doing much better and feeling her old self again. She will have some more tests done next week. Jerry Clark is also doing better after burglars broke into their house and conked him on the head. Our prayers are with both those families.

We will return to the U.S. from our trip to Spain later today.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 26

Hola! Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from Barcelona, Spain where Cindy and I find ourselves on this first Friday of fall. And indeed it is fall. We have had rain all day today, even though it has not been cold nor has it kept us from seeing the sights of this city of 3 million people!

Happy Birthday this coming Monday to Cathrina Clark, wife of Jerry Clark, who lives in Lubbock, Texas. It would be terribly inappropriate for me to say how old Cathrina is, but I will say that I was but a boy, who had just turned 10, when she was born, in Germany of all places!

We just got a report today from Jerry that he was mugged in his own home last week. In the middle of the night he was surprised by some burglars who had broken in. This was the new home that they just built and have not been in but a few weeks! Jerry writes, "I am doing good and am on the mend."

Our best wishes are with Jerry and Cathrina as they recovery from this shock and Jerry's injuries. Thank God it was not worse. We hope they will be recovered enough to celebrate Cathrina's birthday joyfully!

The first picture I am sending shows Cindy and me with Jerry and Cathrina when we got together for a few days last month. Thanks to Jerry for the picture. Cathrina is the one with heavenly sunlight emanating from behind her.

Many of you got a chance to meet Cathrina at the family reunion in July, but for those who don't know her, she tells me this about herself: "I was born in Dusseldorf Germany. My father was born and raised in Lancaster, S.C. My maiden name is Helms. My mother's maiden name is Hartig. She was born in Chemnetz, Germany. Her family moved to Lichtenstein during the war due to all the bombing. My mother and her sister escaped East Germany when she was 16 and her mother moved to Dusseldorf. My mother and dad met in Pforzheim and my father had to go back to the states about 7 months after I was born. My mother and I moved to the states when I was a year old. "

There is obviously a lot more about Cathrina that can be said, but let that be enough for now. Happy Birthday, Cathrina!

The old family picture I am including is yet one more of the pictures I recently received from Dane. (Click on the picture for a larger view.) He reported that his dad Elmer says, "It was taken in July of 1920 and features a threshing rig hooked up to a steam tractor/engine owned by Grandad (William Shepard). He (Grandad) is standing above the rest. The two men to his right are Lawrence (left) and Jess (right) Davis. On the ground (right to left) is Mrs. Erickson (a Swede from Illinois), Gram (Bura) holding Elmer, Gayle Pruett (girls head), Pauline next to her, Elvira, an unknown woman, Tillie Erickson in back, and an unknown man."

This is quite a period piece and shows the respective place that men and women had at that time in that part of the country. The men, in the shadows, dressed in dark, standing above the others, are the hard workers. The women and children, dressed mainly in white, are in front, looking clean and innocent and hardly affected by the huge machines and the grease and grime. Today our machines are mini-computers that children use with ease; but then the machines were gigantic, dirty and powerful, dangerous things.

As a final note, Mary Shepard has been very ill in recent weeks with what looks to her doctor like Kidney cancer. Other than some pain and discomfort she seems to be doing pretty well, but more will be known after tests are done. Our prayers are with you, Mary and we wish you the very best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 20

Hola! Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from Madrid, Spain, where Cindy and I woke up this morning on this last Saturday of summer. Tomorrow begins the first official day of fall, but you would never know it from the warm Spanish weather we are having.

I am including a couple of family pictures. The first one is another of the pictures I recently received from Dane that was found in his father's photo archives. It shows a stern but well dressed Bura Davis Shepard with her youngest child Thelma Shepard (now Boyd). Dane tells me this picture was taken in 1941, behind Will and Bura's rented home on Granada Street in San Diego. That would put it within about a year of the time the family moved there in 1940 from Two Buttes, Colorado. That move began the presence of our family in San Diego, a presence that continues to this day.

Will and Bura's first three children, Pauline, Elmer and Eugene, were born in 1916, 1918, and 1921, but it was not until about 15 years later that Thelma was born. When the family moved to San Diego, Pauline was already married to Bill Russell and together they had two children, Rex and Beverly. At the time of the move, Elmer and Eugene were in the service in WWII, or would be shortly, but Thelma was just a child of 4. She had actually been born back in Two Buttes just 2 weeks before her nephew Rex Russell, an interesting phenomenon that often came up in family conversations when I was young.

The other picture I am including was taken earlier this summer and shows a proud Maida Shepard with three of her grandchildren, the children of Darrell and Mary Shepard -- Christopher, Rachel and Patrick. All three live with their folks in Bothell, Washington. Donations to the Patrick Shepard clothing fund will be gladly accepted! (Do I sound like old school, or what?)

I mailed to a couple of you a CD that had on it the presentation that was made at the family reunion back in July, plus many more other family pictures. Some others of you may have asked me to send you a copy, but I am sorry to say I do not remember who. So if you would like a copy of that CD and have not received one, please let me know. I will be glad to send you one. Be sure to send me your physical address as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 12

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings to all of you, wherever you may be. My summer job comes to a close on Monday, with mixed feelings. I have enjoyed it very much, but Cindy and I will be free again to travel and to visit family and friends, which seems to be our life's passion these days.

Happy Birthday this very day to Kelly Shepard Sauvage. Kelly lives in Weatherford, Texas with her husband James, and their two children, Nathaniel and Kyle. As Gary Shepard's youngest daughter, Kelly, along with her sister Kerri and brother Jason was born and raised in San Diego. They are yet one more part of our family who have migrated elsewhere in recent years. Within the last 10 years that part of the family has all moved to Weatherford, Texas and are now settled there, although the rumor is that they have remained San Diegans at heart. Kelly and James were married in San Diego in 2000 just before they joined the others in Texas.

The first picture I am including is a collection of Kelly pics (click on the pictures to see a larger view of them); the top picture is from the 70s with her mother Jackie, the next one from the 80s with her father Gary, the next one from the 90s with her brother Jason and niece Lyndsey, the next one from Y2K with her fiance James, taken just days before they were married, and the last one with her older son Nate, taken at the family reunion this past July. We hope your birthday is a great one, Kelly!

I received a couple of emails from Dane Shepard recently. He has been digging into his Dad's photo archives and found a few old family pictures that he scanned and sent to me. Thanks so much, Dane, for the great photos! I am including one of the best of the pictures he sent. It was taken in 1947 in front of Will and Bura's home on Wilson St in San Diego, and shows a handsomely dressed Elmer Shepard (Dane's father) with his niece, a Shirley Temple look-a-like, Beverly Russell who was a mature looking 8 years old at the time. Ours were pretty simply folks back in those days, so to see them dressed so stunningly like this is something of an anomaly. (Although truth be told, Elmer was regularly the sharpest dressed in many old family pictures.) Bev's smile, however, could not have been more characteristic of her, and reflected a heart of gold.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I will see if I can continue these weekly postings as Cindy and I make our way in the next few weeks to some far off places.

P.S. If you do not know who Shirley Temple was, ask your parents or grandparents. I am sure they can tell you!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 5

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

It is a beautiful day here in the mountains of Northern California: the birds are whistling, the squirrels are chirping, and the angled morning sunshine brings with it a warmth that suggests that the harsh heat of summer is behind us. Fall is not here yet, but it is certainly not far off.

200 years ago TODAY (Sept 5, 1808) Caroline Willliams was born. Caroline in my generation's great great great great Aunt; the sister of John Pouty Williams (who I mentioned a few months ago because he is one of only two 19th century relatives who lived into his 90s). Caroline Williams was Gram's (Bura Shepard's) great great aunt on her mother's side. Confused, yet? Keep reading. It gets better.

I mention Caroline Williams, not just because today is her 200th birthday, but because she reminds us of the immigration pattern of that part of our family. Her parents were born in the late 1700s back east (father in Virginia; mother in Pennsylvania); Caroline herself was born near Louisville, Kentucky; but as a child her family moved 150 miles northwest into Indiana (southwest of Indianapolis) and lived in that area for most of the 1800s. Gram (Bura Shepard) was born there in Indiana in 1896, but as a child her family moved southwest, almost 1,000 miles, to Beaver County, Oklahoma, and continued the family's westward migration that eventually took them to California.

Back to Caroline Williams: As a 16 year old girl, in August, 1825, in Washington, Indiana, Caroline married a 20 year old young man with the colorful name of Stockton Lockhart. He must have been quite a charmer, for later in 1825 they had their first child, a baby boy (oops!). They went on to have eight other children, the last one born when Caroline was in her mid-40s. What was it like to have been 16, then pregnant, then married, then a mother, in a small Indiana town back in the early 19th century? Those were the days of "shot-gun" weddings. Clearly Caroline and Stockton made the most of what their life decisions brought them. We come from courageous, flawed folks (just like us!), whose genes swirl within us still. Their stories we'll never know completely, but they are nonetheless part of the story of our lives. Happy birthday, Caroline.

I wish I had a picture of Caroline and Stockton to send to you, but alas, I do not. Back on June 20, I did sent you a picture of Caroline's niece, Callie (Caroline) Spear (who was named after her aunt Caroline Willliams; interesting, huh?). You can also see that picture on the June 20 posting of the family blog. That picture is as close as I can get, and is a picture at least taken during Caroline's lifetime.

What I am sending you is two pictures -- the first of which shows Thelma Boyd, the great great great niece of Caroline Williams Lockhart. The picture also shows Cindy and Steve Shepard, Maida Shepard, Terry Boyd, and Barbara Shepard. It was taken earlier this summer in Grants, New Mexico, when this group met one day for lunch.

This coming coming Tuesday, September 9, is the 158th Birthday of the great state of California. It also happens to be my 60th Birthday. I don't feel quite so old when compared to the age of California. Actually I am blessed by God to be turning 60 and still to feel as healthy as I do. I am also blessed to be in the good company of those in our family who also have birthdays this year that end in 0 -- whether 60 (Cindy and me) or 90 (Elmer) or 40 (Kerri) or 50 (Jeff) or 140 (Grandad William Shepard) or 200 (Caroline), or whatever age.

The second picture I am sending was taken 55 years ago at a family gathering in San Diego. It shows Gram and Grandad (Will and Bura Shepard), me in front of Gram, then Gene, Maida and Gary Shepard (who was not a happy camper this day!).

May all your days be filled with smiles!
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Aug 29

Hello Shepard Family Members and Friends,

Greetings on this Labor Day weekend! I hope all of you are able to be with some family or friends this weekend to celebrate the last holiday weekend of the summer season.

I am including two family pictures. The first is an old one (click on the picture to see a larger view) that Elmer and Thelma (two of the people in the picture) helped me to identify. This is what Thelma Boyd wrote:

"I just cracked up laughing when I saw this picture. I haven't seen that in forever. It was taken at Aunt Sadie's house in Elmwood, Oklahoma. I don't know the reason we were all there. The people: (from the left) Pat (Elmer) Getz and son Norman (the boy in front). Pat was married to my cousin, Alberta (Aunt Sadie Pruett's oldest daughter). Maybe Sadie is taking the picture. She's not in it. Then Glenn Barker (married to my cousin Gayle, younger daughter of aunt Sadie). Then Elmer with me (in front), Pauline holding Beverly, Eugene, Gayle with Rex (in front), Gram and Aunt Sadie (on the far right). Wasn't I cute? Just kidding, but I do think all of us little ones did look so cute. That made my day. Thank you!!!!!"

The heavy coats but bright sunshine suggest this picture was taken in the fall, maybe around Thanksgiving. Beverly, the baby in the middle, looks to be a few months old and was born in Two Buttes, Colorado in April, 1939. Will and Bura Shepard did not move their family to San Diego until September, 1940, so evidently the family was visiting in Elmwood, (Beaver County) Oklahoma. That's where Will Shepard's sister Sadie and her family lived, and where all of them had lived, until 1928.

Eugene and Elmer have "TB" on their shirts, which stands for Two Buttes, the tiny town in the Southeast corner of Colorado, where the family lived from 1928 to 1940. Eugene graduated from high school there in the spring of 1939 (just a few months before this picture was taken), and Elmer three years before that. Two Buttes was only about 150 miles from Beaver County, so it was not very far and the family went back for visits occasionally (when gas was only about 10 cents a gallon!).

The picture above is actually very good technically, compared to a lot of photos taken that long ago. It does a great job of capturing the mood and the feel of the people at that time. The family members have a tough look about them, even with their smiles. It definitely has the feel of a farming group that has seen some difficult times. It is a timely picture for this labor day weekend as it clearly shows that our family was a hard working bunch; even at family gatherings, overalls were common!

Happy 18th Birthday TODAY to Lyndsey Aquiningoc in Weatherford, Texas! She is the daughter of Kerri Aquiningoc,the granddaughter of Gary Shepard, and the oldest great granddaughter of Maida Shepard. The other picture I am sending shows Lyndsey with her mother Kerri and grandfather Gary, taken at the family reunion last month.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Shepard Family Update, August 22, 2008

Hello Shepard family members and friends,

The Shepard family news is coming to you this week from Las Vegas, Nevada, where Cindy and I are spending a few days with Nathan from San Francisco, and Jerry and Cathrina Clark from Lubbock, Texas.

I received an email recently from Kim that she talked to Dane Shepard who expressed interest in hosting a Shepard family reunion in Oklahoma next year. (Thanks so much, Dane!) He'd like to know when would be best for everyone. Would earlier in the summer be better or would you prefer later in the summer closer to Labor Day? Or would mid July like this summer be your preference? Please let us know by sending an email to me or to Dane or to both of us. We know it's a year off and most of you probably don't even know if you can make it, but if you can give us some idea of what time of summer is best, it will help in putting something together.

The first of the two pictures I am sending this week shows Mary and Darrell Shepard and their 3 children, Patrick, Rachel and Christopher (go Chargers!). It was taken at the 1995 family reunion in Anacortes. (click on the picture to see a larger view.)

The other picture was taken in May this year in Maui, Hawaii after Cindy, Barbara and I had driven the looong and winding road to the small historic town of Hana.

Our sympathies are extended to Mary Shepard whose mother Barbara Medina passed away Aug. 8 in Florida. She had been sick for a long time, but it is always difficult when one's parent dies. Our prayers and best wishes are with you, Mary.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shepard Family Update, August 15, 2008

Hello Shepard family members and friends,

Happy 15th Birthday tomorrow to Linda Mae Dawn Shepard of Anacortes, Washington! Linda's was one of the smiling teenage faces at the family reunion last month and is the youngest grandchild of Maida Shepard. Her parents are Russ and Pam Shepard. See a recent picture of Linda.

Next Thursday would have been the 58th birthday of her aunt and namesake Linda Rae Shepard, who was a sister/daughter/wife to many of us, and who died in a car accident in 1971.

Our deepest condolences are extended to Jane Brock whose father Quay Hodge, passed away earlier this week in Lubbock, Texas at 92. You may recall he fell and broke his hip earlier in the summer. His memorial service was today in Lubbock.

My apologies to Nathan for last week's comments about global warming, which he said, "Made me sound like a Republican!" If you know Nathan, you know that the only thing worse would be to make him sound like a Democrat. (shut up, Steve!)

Thelma Boyd won the prize for being the first to solve the brain teaser I included in last week's family email. The question related to the July 28 birthdays of Barbara Shepard and Jeff Clark, who were born ONE year apart. They were both born in a YEAR that starts with 5 (forget the "19" part of the year), but only one is now at an AGE that starts with 5. What years were they born? The answer is 1958 and 1959. Thelma wins a free CD of the photo presentation that was made at the family reunion, which includes hundreds of old and new family pictures. Congratulations, Thelma!
I am including two family pictures with this email. The first one was taken on my college graduation day in Abilene, Texas, May, 1970. In the picture are Gene Shepard with Barbara in front of him; mom and me in our graduation gowns; and Linda and Jerry Clark, just a few months before they got married. Do any of you recognize the fellow on the right? He was one of my High School buddies and a member of the Linda Vista church youth group. His name is Terry Marren, and he is now a District Court Judge in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The other picture is of Jeremy Ortiz whose birthday was this
past Tuesday. He is with his young son Damian, Kim Clark's youngest grandchild. Thanks, Kim, for sending this picture that was taken just last month.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Shepard Family Update, 080808

Dear Shepard family members and friends,

What a pleasant summer this is turning out to be! And not just up our way in the mountains. Down the hill, in the Valley and the Bay Area, triple digit days have been few and far between this year. Nathan would say, "See the Global Warming scare is NOT all it is touted to be!" I would bite my tongue in face of such political comments, and simply appreciate the fact that the weather has been relatively pleasant.

But from what I hear, that is not true for all of you. Blessings on you if you are having to endure hot, muggy weather. However, everything is relative when it comes to weather. I talked to Mom in Washington a few days ago and said, "We are having cool weather here." She replied, "We are having hot weather here." Turns out we were both talking about temperatures in the 80s!

080808: On this day 5 years ago my dad, Eugene Shepard, died. On this day 86 years ago, Cindy's dad, Joe Harris, was born. This is also the day the China Summer Olympics start. And it is a day the casinos claim is the luckiest day of the year. (Yeah, right.) It is also "the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

I received some more pictures of the July family reunion this past week from Barbara. Thanks so much! Nathan invites any of you to visit the online location for his pictures from the reunion.

I am including two family pictures for your viewing pleasure. The first one is a picture Barbara took at the family reunion and shows Kim and Jeff Clark from Blue Springs Missouri. The picture also shows the words that were on the wall of the social hall where we met, that spoke eloquently of our time together: "Welcome home... one in Christ Jesus," from Galatians 3.

The other is a picture of Eugene Shepard and Joe Harris (click on the picture to see a larger view of it) and their respective daughters, on what was among the happiest days of their lives. Joe is walking Cindy down the aisle of the La Mesa Church of Christ in December, 1968. Gene is walking Linda down the aisle of the Linda Vista Church of Christ in August, 1970.

I failed to mention in my last email that early last week we had two birthdays in our family. Happy Birthday to Barbara Shepard and Jeff Clark! They both share July 28 as their day of birth. Not the same year, but within 1 year of each other!

Here's a brain teaser for you: Barbara and Jeff both were born in a YEAR that starts with 5, but only one now is at an AGE that starts with 5.

Figure it out. The first one to do so and email me wins a prize.

Also Happy Birthday to Jeremy Ortiz, Kim Clark's older son, in El Cajon, Ca. He turns 28 this coming Tuesday.
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Friday, August 01, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Aug 1

Dear Shepard family members and friends,

Hello from California where the summer is working its way through a pretty pleasant stage here, especially for this first day of August. We are still mulling over the experience of being together in Washington two weeks ago for the family reunion and hoping that all of us who came from out of state made it home okay, especially Jeff and Kim Clark who drove all the way from Missouri.

Last week I had no more than made a request for some reunion pictures when here came several pictures by email! Thanks to Jerry Clark for the wonderful photos he took, two of which are attached to this posting.

The first one is a picture of Gary Shepard and his two daughters and 3 of his grandkids. On the left is Gary's youngest Kelly Sauvage. Her son Nate is in front on the right. Next to Kelly is Mandi Aquiningoc whose mom Kerri is in the soccer shirt. On the right is Kerri's older daughter Lyndsey. Everyone in the picture except Gary lives in Weatherford, Texas. Not in the picture are Gary's son Jason Shepard, and his other grandchild Kyle Sauvage, both of who were unable to be at the reunion.

The other picture (click on the picture to enlarge it) shows all 29 of us who attended the family reunion. Shall I try to name them all? Okay here goes... Seated in chairs are me (Steve) and Cindy, Kim Clark (husband Jeff is on the far back left), Vicki Gower, Maida and Gary. Down in front are Linda and Cindy. Back row from left to right are Patrick, Nicole, Jeff, Rachel, Christopher, Amber, Samantha, Kelly, Mary, Lyndsey, Nate, Darrell, Mandi, Nathan, Barbara, Kerri, Steven, Pam, Russ, Cathrina and Jerry. Thanks to Jerry for looking so calm and cool after setting his camera and rushing to get in the picture!

What about next year? Can we plan a date when the family can gather again? I have asked some of you if it would be possible to plan a gathering somewhere in the Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma/Missouri part of the country. That way those of you who live back there would not have so far to go, and those of us here on the west coast would have the farther distance to travel. Would some of you give it some thought and let us know? I have found that if you can plan something by Christmas it is usually enough time to get the word out.

Do you miss seeing an OLD family picture in these postings? Me, too. Maybe next week.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Shepard Family Update, July 25, 2008

Dear Family members and friends,

Hello on this Friday after the family reunion. The dust has settled and we are relaxed a bit after all the energy and effort and hard work that went into the family reunion last Saturday in Anacortes, Washington. It was a very special occasion, as anyone who was there can tell you. 29 of us were together, about half of us from in and around Anacortes, and the other half from around western Washington, the Kansas City area, Weatherford and Lubbock, Texas, and San Francisco and Dorrington, California.

Special thanks go to Barbara and Maida Shepard and the other locals who provided places to stay and helped make all the arrangements. And to (Gary's) Cindy for the keepsake cups that were provided for the occasion. And to Kim Clark who came from so far away with her husband Jeff and brought lots of old photos.

We shared a wonderful meal and visited with some family members we don't get to see very often. Some of us even met other family members for the first time -- new spouses, young children, distant relatives. We looked at lots of old and new pictures -- some black and white photographs from 50 or more years ago, some digital pictures in a PowerPoint presentation, and some baby pictures that made us belly laugh when they were identified.

We acknowledged the oldest and youngest persons among us (the winners were Maida Shepard of Anacortes and her great grandson Nate Sauvage of Weatherford, Texas); as well as those who had come the farthest (Jeff and Kim Clark of Blue Springs, Missouri). But most of all we simply celebrated the family that we are -- very diverse in age, vocation, appearance, life style and home location, but united as one in love and respect for the ties that bind us and the shared history that brings us together.

Family Faces. And of course we took pictures. Lots of pictures. I had a difficult time selecting just two for this posting (more will be forthcoming). My camera was one of the few that did NOT get a picture of the WHOLE group, so I need Jeff or Jerry or Gary or someone else to send me a picture or two that was taken of the entire family group. I want to share that picture in the next posting. Would one or more of you please do that? I would appreciate it very much.

The first picture today shows Maida Shepard and her children and their spouses (click on the picture to enlarge it). In the back row, left to right, are Pam and Russ Shepard, Barbara Shepard, Darrell and Mary Shepard, and Cathrina and Jerry Clark. On the front row are Cindy and Steve Shepard (me), and Maida, Gary and Cindy Shepard. You can see from the smiles -- and from Darrell's imitation of the historic "Russell pose" (hint: the hands tell it all) - that we had WAY too much fun with this photo session, as we did with the entire day! ;-)

The other picture shows three of the beautiful teenagers that were with us, Linda Shepard of Anacortes (Russ and Pam's little girl) on the left, and then Lyndsey and Mandi Aquiningoc (Kerri's daughters, Gary's granddaughters) from Weatherford, Texas.

If you would like a CD of the Powerpoint Presentation that I showed at the reunion, please send me your physical address and I will send you a copy. It shows about 200 old and new family pictures, including the oldest family picture I have, of Edmond Owens, who was my grandad's great grandfather on his mother's side.

Do you have other comments or reflections or pictures of the family reunion? Send them my way and I will be glad to pass them on to everyone else.

It came to my attention that I missed the birthday of Nathaniel Sauvage, who turned 6 years old on the 7th of this month. Happy Birthday to Nate Sauvage!, whose proud parents are James and Kelly Shepard Sauvage of Weatherford Texas. Any other birthdays I missed?