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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