Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! December 23, 2013

There are many gifts under the Christmas tree,
but the very best is the gift of family.

Wednesday this week is not only Christmas Day, it is also the 125th anniversary of the birth of my grandfather William Shepard. For the last few blog posts I have mentioned him and included pictures about him as a way of remembering the important place he has in our family history.

Interestingly, grandfather William -- like many men of his time -- never had a life long profession, or a career that he worked at most of his life. In the census records for 1910, 20, 30 and 40 he gave his occupation as farmer. But we know he did many different things, from factory work in his early years in Illinois, to farming and railroad work in Oklahoma, to driving a gas truck in Colorado, to running a boarding home with wife Bura in San Diego, to working at Seal Laundry in his later years. 

Nevertheless, those of us who knew him remember him as a valued part of our family. He and his sister Sadie were the only Shepard children of their generation, with no cousins named Shepard. Their father William Elmer Shepard was the only Shepard child of his generation, with no cousins named Shepard. Granddad William therefore is a very unique and important linkage to our Shepard ancestry. 

The first picture is a collection of images showing 7 generations of parents and children span more than 200 years. The single picture in the second row is William. Above him are his great grandfather Edmond Owens Jr. (1795-1864) and his mother Elvira Owens Shepard (1865-1931).

Below William are his daughter Pauline Shepard Russell (1916-2000), her daughter Beverly Russell Wilk (1939-1974), her daughter Shannon Wilk (b. 1973), and her daughter Emma Beverly Jean Wilk (b. 2005). Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of William's maternal grandfather, Payton Owens (1826-1872), whose place would be between the top two pictures.)

The 4 images below William in this picture show 4 of the 53 descendants of him and Bura. Their first child Pauline was born Dec 28, 1916 -- 97 years ago this Saturday. 

I am grateful for William Shepard and all the ways that he gave of himself to his family. He will be long remembered as a good father, grandfather and great grandfather, and a very important part of our family heritage.

Family Christmas Gathering. The second picture I am including shows a gathering of a large part of the clan of Leroy and Nola Gower. It was taken at their home in San Diego on a sunny Christmas Day in 1974. This picture was taken just 2 weeks after grandpa Leroy Gower had passed away.

Standing, left to right, are Nola Shannon Gower, Starlene Bass Gower, Hershell Gower, Hendrix Gower, Al Perry, Janet Nolan Gower, Eugene Shepard, Cindy Harris Shepard, Jackie Enderle Shepard, Jason Shepard, Darrell Shepard, Gary Shepard and Kelly Shepard. In the front row are Vicki Gower Perry, Shaun and Lloyd Gower, Russell Shepard, Barbara Shepard, Maida Gower Shepard and Kerri Shepard.

May you all have a wonderful, joyful Christmas!
- - -
Steve Shepard

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