Friday, July 18, 2008

Shepard Family Update, July 18, 2008

Dear Family members and friends,

Well here we are at long last - the family reunion is tomorrow. Almost 7 months ago when I first started with these family messages, it seemed like such a long time off! I wondered at that time how I would ever have enough to say, enough pictures to post, and enough interest to carry us to July. But here we are! The time has flown by. Thanks for your many responses. You can look forward to more family messages -- even if not EVERY week. In the next few messages I am planning to include information about how things went at the reunion and show some pictures.

We are looking forward to a beautiful day in Northwest Washington tomorrow, which is not unusual for this time of the year. Many people here have a hard time with all the rain this region gets, but there is an up side. It makes for some glorious sights when the sun comes out, and the mountains and trees and water and sky show how lovely the creation can be!

There will be ample room for us in the Anacortes Christian Church fellowship hall when we gather at 12 noon. After all, ours is not a large family. I was talking with a person just the other day who is one of 11 children, and her mother is one of 12 children! Can you imagine family reunions with hundreds of people? That is not us. We are expecting maybe 25 or 30 people tomorrow, and that will be a fine family gathering, if you ask me.

Fascinating Family Fact. There was a time when families were much larger on average than they are today. Not too many generations ago, times were tough and families needed all the help they could get to "make a go of it" on the farm. The more children you bore, the more hands you would have to work the farm.

Will and Bura Shepard and their descendants have not had large families. He was from a family of only 2 children (2 others died in infancy); she was from a good sized family of 7 children. They had 4 children themselves. Those 4 in turn had families with an average of only 3 children (2, 2, 6 and 2). There have been 18 marriages among all the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard. From all those unions, 38 children have been born, an average of only 2.1 children per marriage, a rather modest figure even by today's standards. Let that be the fascinating family fact for this week.

Family Faces. I am including two family pictures. The first is a picture of Bura Davis as a teenager. I don't know the exact date of the picture, but it was taken before she married William Shepard at age 18 in 1915. What would you guess her age is in this picture?

The other picture was taken earlier this year of Thelma Boyd (on the left), her granddaughter Amanda Ortiz next to her, then Shannon Wilk with her daughter Emma, and Thelma's daughter Kim on the right. Kim is the only one of this family group who will be with us at the reunion. We will miss the others and hope that the next family reunion will be different with even more family and friends able to attend.

Family News. Last week I mentioned that Havilah Colgain's father Art Colgain and his wife Jill were in a car accident in Utah and that Havilah had gone there to be with them. Art was released from the hospital, but Jill remained in critical condition until just a few days ago when she passed away.

I received an email from Joan Shepard, Havilah's mother, on Wednesday this past week.

"Jill died around 5:00 P.M. yesterday [Tuesday]. Havilah was with her and said that her transition was peaceful. Family and friends will celebrate Jill's life on Saturday, first at the church building then at the Colgain home. We all appreciate the love and inspiration that everyone has offered. I know Havilah has felt the presence of those praying and sending affection. I'll be thankful when Havilah can return, probably next week, though I know Art will miss her."

As a large part of our family meets and enjoys ourselves tomorrow, we cannot help but be mindful of those who will not be with us, especially Joan, Havilah, Art and their loved ones. Our prayers and very best wishes are with them in their grief and loss.

No comments: