Friday, June 19, 2009

Shepard Family Update, June 19, 2009

The most important thing
a father can do
for his children
is to love their mother.

-Theodore Hesburgh

Dear Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this third weekend of June. Tomorrow we are having a memorial service for my wife Cindy's brother Joe Paul Harris who passed away a few weeks ago. There will be tears and sadness, but it will also be a time to celebrate his life. The service will be at the El Cajon Blvd Church of Christ in San Diego, a place of many memories for me and a number of family connections.

It happens to have been Will and Bura Shepard's church home for the several decades they lived here in San Diego. It was also my parents' church for the first 10 years of my life, and was where my siblings and I learned our earliest lessons about faith. I remember it well as the place I first learned how to act up in Sunday School! (I also learned the consequences of doing so.) It was also the place where I learned to recite from memory all the books of the Bible, something I can still do -- over 50 years later -- without thinking twice. (OMG, what am I admitting to!)

And on this weekend of Father's day, I am also remembering -- in a second hand sort of way -- that the El Cajon Blvd Church is where my father and mother (Eugene Shepard and Maida Gower) were married 64 years ago this past May 24th.

Father's Day. Speaking of Father's Day, best wishes to all you fathers, and fathers-to-be! The first picture I am including shows two of the fathers of our family, Elmer and Eugene Shepard. This picture was taken in San Diego about 1944, when both of them were serving in the military. Eugene (on the right), who passed away 6 years ago, is the father of my siblings and me, while Elmer -- the father of Joan and Dane -- is the oldest living father in the Shepard family.

Here are the other 11 men who are living fathers of the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard: Dane Shepard, Art Colgain, Rex Russell, Terry Boyd, Darren Boyd, Jeremy Ortiz, Gary Shepard, James Sauvage, Steve Shepard, Darrell Shepard, and Russ Shepard. Happy Father's Day to them and best wishes to all the men in our family!

If you are like me, however, this weekend is also a time to remember fathers and/or grandfathers who are no longer with us. Here is a list of all the fathers of descendants of Will and Bura who have passed away, in some instances way too young: Gabriel Ortiz, Manuel Aquiningoc, Bill Russell, Gene Shepard, and of course Grandad William Shepard. Thanks be to God for all of them and for the memories of them we hold in our hearts.

Welcome to America! As a father myself, it is my joy to offer congratulations to our son Nathan Shepard on the arrival of his fiance Chenda Sou from Cambodia this past weekend. Cindy and I were on hand when Nathan met her plane in Los Angeles last Saturday night, and welcomed her to the U.S. after an arduous overseas flight. Even though she has been living in Cambodia, she has enjoyed being on our email list for several months, so she is not unfamiliar with life among our family members. She and Nathan are now living in San Francisco where Nathan has lived and worked for the last several years. They will be married soon and are looking forward to being with us in Newcastle, Oklahoma next month for the family reunion.

Happy Birthday this coming Monday to Vicki Boyd, wife of Darren Boyd of Lakeside, California. Vicki is the mother of Courtney, Brandyn and Kori Boyd. She and Darren will celebrate 21 years of marriage this coming Thursday. Congratulations!

Our family reunion on July 18 in Newcastle, Oklahoma is just a few weeks away. Please let Dane Shepard or Kim Clark know by next Friday if you will be attending, so we can plan accordingly. And don't forget to bring whatever old (or new) family pictures you would like to put out on our display table for others to see.

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