Friday, April 27, 2018

A Remarkable Week for Remembering, April 27, 2018

We have a witch in the family.
Isn't it wonderful?
- from Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer's Stone

It has been a remarkable week for remembering people in our family.

Gloria Harrell Watson. Yesterday, on beautiful clear day, we laid to rest my cousin Gloria Harrell Watson (1953-2016) in Greenwood Cemetery in San Diego. Her sister Paula had made the arrangements and was there with her husband Frank as we said our last goodbyes and prayed Gloria into eternity. Gloria passed away two years ago in Knoxville, Tennessee at 63 years old. She was born in San Diego and was raised there along with all her siblings and cousins. At just 18 years old she married William Watson in San Diego. She then moved with him to Tennessee where she lived the rest of her life. She had a long and successful career at healthcare company Allmeds, Inc. in Knoxville.

Gloria Harrell Watson and Grandmother Nola Shannon Gower
Thanks to our cousin Jimmie Gower, Gloria's ashes were interred in the grave next to her grandmother Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004).  Gloria and her Grandmother were very close and had a special bond throughout Gloria's life. Their final resting place is in a lovely section of Greenwood Cemetery which on a clear day offers views of the local mountains to the east, and San Diego bay to the west. In this particular corner of Greenwood Cemetery a dozen or more graves of family members are located. It is a place rife with memories of Gowers and Shepards who have lived in San Diego in recent generations.

The first picture I am including today was taken 25 years ago and shows Gloria with her Grandmother in San Diego. The picture was taken while Gloria was visiting in San Diego from Tennessee.

Beverly Jean Russell Wilk. Today would have been the 79th Birthday of my cousin Beverly Jean Russell Wilk (1939-1974). Bev is the mother of Shannon Wilk who lives with her daughter Emma Beverly Jean in Atchison, Kansas. Bev only lived to be 35 years old because of a brain aneurysm that tragically cut her life short back in 1974 when she was a wife and a mother of two young children. Beverly's grave is just a few steps away from Gloria's in San Diego.

Bev's daughter Shannon posted this on Facebook just today: "Happy Birthday to my mom. She would have been 79 years old today. She was taken from me early in my life, and though I have no memory of her, she is always in my heart. My very own Angel who watches over me and her granddaughter. Love you mommy."


Beverly Russell Wilk with uncle Eugene Shepard
Eugene Shepard. Tomorrow I will be remembering my maternal grandmother Nola Shannon Gower, and my father Eugene Shepard, who were both born on April 28. My dad was born 97 years ago in Beaver County, Oklahoma, where he was raised. He graduated from Two Buttes (Colorado) High School when his family lived there in the 1930s. After serving in the Navy in WW2 he stayed in San Diego, married Maida Gower and with her raised a family of 6 kids. After retiring from the Naval Supply Depot in the late 1970s, he and Maida moved to Anacortes, Washington where he died 15 years ago this summer.

The second picture in this post was taken about 1944 in San Diego. It shows my father, Navyman Eugene Shepard, holding his 5 year old niece Beverly Jean Russell. Dad was stationed at the time in Los Alamitos, California, and was probably home on leave visiting his family. Bev was the only granddaughter of the Shepards at the time and was the darling of the family. She and her family had only lived in San Diego for a couple of years, having moved from Colorado in 1940.

Nola Shannon Gower. My Grandmother Nola Gower was born 115 years ago near Mountain View, Arkansas. She married Leroy Gower in Arkansas in 1921, and then moved to Okemah, Oklahoma where she and husband Leroy lived for 17 years until they moved to San Diego. The first picture above shows Nola Gower in her home on Lynne Street in San Diego, where she lived for almost 50 years.


The memories of this week have been important and powerful for members of both our Shepard and the Gower families. They bring to mind some of the best of the folks who have made our family what it is today. I thank God for the memories of all these loved ones.
- - -
Steve Shepard

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