Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, May 27, 2010

If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten; 
Either write things worthy of reading,
or do things worthy of writing.
~Benjamin Franklin

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this beautiful spring day on Memorial Day Weekend. I hope the weather is as wonderful in your part of the world as it is here in Southern California.

Congratulations to Mandi Aquiningoc who will be graduating from Weatherford High School this coming Wednesday, June 2! (See picture with her on the left next to cousins Linda and Steve, in a picture taken last summer in Texas. Thanks to Barbara Shepard for this picture.) 

Mandi lives with her sister Lyndsey and mom Kerri in Weatherford, Texas. She is one of the GGgrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard.

Yesterday, May 26, was the 17th birthday of Brandyn Boyd, the middle child of Vicki and Darren Boyd of Lakeside, California. Brandyn is one of the last Ggrandchildren to be born to Will and Bura Shepard. (See picture of Brandyn taken last year.)

Tomorrow, May 28, is the birthday of Rex Russell (son of Bill and Pauline (Shepard) Russell), as well as his daughter-in-law Ruth (Styer) Russell. Rex and Ruth (and their son and husband Eric) live in Red Rock, Nevada.

Rex in the first of the Grandchildren of Will and Bura. He, his aunt Thelma (2 weeks older than him!), and his sister Beverly were born in Two Buttes, Colorado, but as young children moved to San Diego in 1940 when the family first migrated to Southern California. (See picture of Thelma (Shepard) Boyd and her nephew Rex Russell in a picture taken in 1958.)

Early last week my mother Maida, my sister Barbara, and I, with flowers in hand, made our annual trek to Greenwood Cemetery here in San Diego. It was an early Memorial Day visit to the final resting place of over a dozen of our family members, including William and Bura (Davis) Shepard, Bill and Pauline Russell, Leroy and Nola Gower, and Eugene Shepard. It was a humbling experience, as it always is, and was a reminder of what a what a great family legacy we have.

In a special way, this weekend of Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died in service to their country. One such person in our family was William Shepard (1835-1862), who I have referred to before as "Wabash William", since there are several William Shepards in our family, and this one's home was in Wabash, Indiana. He is the oldest Shepard ancestor of which we have any knowledge (although I hope our knowledge will grow as research continues).  

He died in July of 1862 during the Civil War as a result of injuries suffered in the service of the 2nd Indiana Calvary of the Union Army. When he went to War in 1861 he left a pregnant wife, whose child would be named William Elmer Shepard (my Ggrandfather). Even though we have no photos of "Wabash William" (see a picture of his grave in Evansville, Indiana), we are humbly grateful this Memorial Day weekend for his sacrifice, as well as that of countless others like him.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Busy Birthday Week, May 18

Each generation goes further 
than the generation preceding it 
because it stands on the shoulders
of that generation. 
~Ronald Reagan

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

If you thought last week had a lot of family birthdays in it, this week is just as crowded with family birthday celebrations.

This past Sunday was the birthday of Darren Boyd, the son of Terry and Thelma (Shepard) Boyd of Gallup New Mexico. Darren lives in Lakeside, California with wife Vicki and their 3 children. I understand that Darren has been off work for some time with health concerns and will not return to work for several more weeks. Our best wishes are with Darren as he regains his health.

The first picture I am including shows Vicki and Darren Boyd with their oldest child Courtney, when she graduated from High School in 2008.

Today is also the birthday of Jason Shepard of Weather- ford, Texas. Jason is the son of Gary Shepard of Oak Harbor, Washington and the third Ggrandson of Will and Bura Shepard.

The second picture I am including today, taken just a few months ago, shows Jason with his mother Jackie Perry, also of Weatherford.

Tomorrow is the 5th birthday of Ashlyn Ortiz, who is one of Jason's second cousins, and one of Darren's nieces. Ashlyn is the daughter of Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz of Spring Valley, California. Kim Clark is Ashlyn's grandmother and Terry and Thelma (Shepard) Boyd her Ggrandparents.  The next picture I am including shows Ashlyn (in princess white) with her older sister Ciara.  Desiree gave me the following update.

Ashlyn is doing great! This year is big for her, since she will start kindergarten. Ashlyn is such a sweetheart and 100% girl. From makeup to shoes to hair and nails. Ashlyn is my princess. I adore her more each and every day. She is also a "Grammy' s girl". This week Grammy [Kim Clark from Blue Springs, Mo.] came back to San Diego to spend this special day with her. I don't think she would have it any other way!

And finally Thursday is the birthday of the senior member of our Shepard family. Elmer Shepard of Mustang, Oklahoma is the oldest living child of Will and Bura Shepard, having been born 92 years ago this week in Beaver County, Oklahoma. His children are Dane Shepard of Newcastle, Oklahoma and Joan Shepard of Dixon, California.

Dane: I'm glad to report that we have dodged all the tornadoes and bad weather here.  Some came close but turned away without any consequences. This past week has been a challenge for us with regard to Dad's health. He was in and out of the hospital, first with diverticulitis, and then with a reaction to the medication they gave him. During the week there was a tornado alert and he managed to walk to the safe area in his assisted living facility. He truly is a survivor. Thankfully, he has made good progress and we pray he will be back to normal soon. He rarely, if ever, has any illness to speak of. We look forward to celebrating his birthday on the 20th, Lord willing. Please keep him in your prayers.

Thanks to Dane for sending this picture of his Dad taken this past Christmas. And best wishes to Elmer for good health and much happiness as he continues into his 90s!

It is quite a diverse group of birthday folks this week: a child, a grandchild, a Ggrandchild, and a GGgrandchild of Will and Bura Shepard, one from each of the generations among us. Each of them is a unique part of the great legacy of Will and Bura. To Ashlyn, Jason, Darren and Elmer, blessings to each of you and best wishes as you turn one more year.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Birthday Day: May 14, 2010

There are only two lasting bequests
we can give our children -
one is roots, and the other, wings.
- Hodding S. Carter

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Today there are no less than three birthdays in our family. I don't think there is another day in the year with that many birthdays among the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard. 

My aunt Thelma (Shepard) Boyd, daughter of Will and Bura Shepard, is celebrating a birthday today in Gallup, New Mexico, where she and Terry Boyd live. Which birthday she is having I am not at liberty to divulge (without dire consequences), as her note below will explain.

In [my sister] Pauline's last years, she used to tell me, "Don't get old." I would tell her that I only had one other choice! 

Yes, I'm doing very well. I'm still working and loving my job. Terry is okay. Not great but medium. Our weather has been so crazy this year. A week ago Sunday it snowed all day long and got down to 20 degrees. Monday I went for my walk after work, and didn't even need a sweater. A week ago the wind and dirt blew so bad they closed I-40 on the Arizona side and traffic backed up bumper to bumper for 30 miles. It's beautiful now. (Just don't be telling my birth year or you're in trouble, Dude.) 

Today is also the birthday of Thelma's granddaughter Courtney Boyd of Lakeside, California. Courtney is the oldest child of Darren and Vicki Boyd. Happy Birthday to Courtney and her grandmother Thelma. Terry and Thelma are pictured in the first photo. On the original it says "May, 1958, Tucson, Arizona". They were married in August of that year.

And finally this day is also the birthday of Christopher Shepard, son of Darrell and Mary Shepard of Kirkland, Washington. This second picture shows Christopher with his grandmother Maida and aunt Cindy Shepard. For those of you who may not know, the irony and the humor of the occasion was because those with cigarettes in their mouths were NOT the smokers.

Mary gave me the following update on Chris:

Christopher is doing very well! He is attending Lake Washington Tech taking courses to become a Medical Assistant. He is doing very well in his classes! After he gets his certificate, he may pursue a career in psychology. He is still working full time at Remington Place in Lake City. His current 'passion' is nutrition and working out at the gym. He is leading a very healthy lifestyle. He has been dating a girl from Manchester, England for the past several months who is currently an au pair for a couple in nearby Woodinville. They spend a lot of time hiking, working out and staying very active. 

Last week we were all deeply saddened by the sudden death of Rachel's puppy, Maddi. She was with Bryan at work when she was struck by a car and later died.  Maddi was so beautiful and sweet and was more like Rachel's child, than a pet.  Our entire family is in mourning. We intend to hold a memorial for her and spread her ashes in a couple of weeks. So, Chris is spending a lot of time this week comforting his sister.

Best wishes to all three birthday people today! And our best to Rachel and Bryan on the loss of their puppy.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Mother's Birthday: May 11

Like branches on a tree, 
our lives may grow 
in different directions,
yet our roots remain as one. 

Hello Shepard family and friends,

Greetings from Southern California on this beautiful Tuesday in May, two days after Mother's Day.

Today is the birthday of one of the three Cindy Shepards in our family. This Cindy lives in Newcastle, Oklahoma with her husband Dane Shepard and her children Nathan and Kaylan. Cindy (Saunders) Shepard's birthday falls on Mother's Day occasionally, although this year it is just 2 days away. 

Dane emailed me on Mother's Day to say: "We have been in and out of town for most of the past week. We've been assisting Cindy's parents. We took her mother to Shreveport to visit her brother who is in the hospital. Cindy stays quite busy with home-school, being a bowling mom, Bible class teacher, a jewelry business woman, and chauffeur for her parents and sister. She manages to keep a positive attitude but needs a break now and then. We recently visited a scenic area called Turner Falls (Oklahoma) and had an enjoyable time. (see photo above)"

I hope you had the pleasure of your mother's company on Mother's Day this past Sunday, as I did. The second picture I am including today shows my mom Maida Shepard of Anacortes, Washington, who is the mother in our family with the oldest child among all the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard. Her oldest son is my older brother Gary Shepard of Oak Harbor, Washington.

Also pictured is Chenda Shepard of San Francisco, California who is the mother in our family with the youngest child among all the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard. In this picture, taken just yesterday, is baby Preslea Maida Shepard (6 weeks old) with her mother and Ggrandmother.

Thanks to my sister Barbara for submitting the quote at the top of this post. If you have a memorable or favorite quote relating to family, please email it my way. I would be glad to share it in on this blog.
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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

History Assignment: Cinco de Mayo

The bond that links
your true family
is not one of blood,
but of respect and joy
in each other's life.
~Richard Bach 

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings from San Diego on this great North American holiday, Cinco de Mayo

I got an email from my niece Linda Shepard the other day asking me about the Baby Boomer Generation. (See the picture of Linda, taken last summer by her aunt Barbara.)

Actually she sent me a text message on my cell phone, telling me to get to my computer "a.s.a.p.!" to read the email she had sent. Evidently she was worried I might have a life beyond my computer that would keep me from these important family emails. (She knows me pretty well.)

So I rushed to my computer to read her email. In it she explained that she had been given an assignment in her High School history class. History class? I was not sure I liked where this was going. She further explained that she needed to get the opinion of family members MY age about the Baby Boomer generation.

I was beginning to feel older and older the more I read. I had always thought that we Baby Boomers were a pretty current bunch, and suddenly I was feeling like an ancient relic. Like a Giant Sequoia. Or a dinosaur. It was something of a wake up call. All this from a lovely, bright 16 year old, who probably intended no harm whatsoever to my self image.

We Baby Boomers are quite a responsible bunch, so I dutifully answered her questions as quickly as I could. Although in the process I began to wonder if perhaps she had put off this assignment until the last minute, thereby necessitating my response "a.s.a.p.!" Is "cramming" as common among students these days as it was "back in the day"?  

The questions she asked were actually rather thought provoking, for someone of MY generation. They had to do with the Vietnam War, pot smoking, religious changes, diversity and a host of other matters. She and her teacher (probably the CHILD of a Baby Boomer) knew how to get Boomers' attention.  

The second picture from 1952 shows the first three Baby Boomers born among the descendants of Will and Bura Shepard: my brother Gary (in the middle, born 1946), me (1948) and my sister Linda Shepard (1950) -- the one after whom my niece Linda is named.

Answering Linda's questions got me to wondering where I really am, historically, in my particular part of our family. Here are the facts: 47 descendants of Will and Bura Shepard have been born over the last 95 years, 42 of whom are alive today. Add spouses of those 42 and you get 57 people. Of those 57, I am number 8. Only 7 people in my entire part of the family are older than I am. 49 are younger. I am feeling less and less current all the time. 

It took me the better part of a day to get my part of her assignment turned in to her on time, but for us Baby Boomers, I think that qualifies as "a.s.a.p."
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Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day: 99 and Counting!

In work,
do what you enjoy. 
In family life, 
be completely present.
~Lao Tzu 

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this first day of May, 2010. Happy 99th Birthday TODAY to Mildred (Beck) Davis, the oldest living member of the family of Bura (Davis) Shepard. Mildred, who lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was married to Jesse Davis, Bura's brother.

Mildred's son Bud Davis (see them both in the picture above) emailed me about their early birthday celebration:

We had a wonderful time together and brought away many good memories.  Just sitting in the living room with Mom and family nearby, even without saying anything.... the unspoken warmth of those you love.... able to communicate without words.... all of the stories as we remembered the good ole times... watching the little ones interact with Mom, and her smile at seeing them... all this and more made it a magical time.

All five of my sisters were there - Jessie, Charlotte, Nordeen, Becky and Kathy. We marvel that we are still blessed to be there with Mom on her 99th birthday. Many grandchildren and Ggrands were there to see her. Mom does not like a lot of attention or fanfare so we have to be careful about too big a production. Her most frequent question was: "Did you have enough to eat and do you have a place to sleep?"

One conversation included trying to recall Jesse Davis' favorite color. Several in the room in unison said "red". Becky asked Mom if she remembered the red dress that dad bought for her at Nellie's Dress Shoppe in Boise City, Oklahoma where we grew up. After thinking a moment, Mom said with a gleam in her eye, "I remember I made him take it back!" Dad liked to surprise Mom with a gift and apparently it was not the right size... or maybe she just did not want him spending their hard earned money on her. Mom continues to be blessed with almost no pain. We are planning her next birthday already, the big 100.

The picture above shows Jesse and Mildred Davis and their 6 children in 1954. This picture is from their family history booklet compiled in 1993. The picture below, shows Jesse Davis and his sister Bura (Davis) Shepard in 1965.

More 20th Century Brookses. Last week I mentioned that James Brooks Davis had two 20th century descendants who were given the name "Brooks". One of JBD's granddaughters, Becky Davis, informed me that I failed to mention two other 20th century Brookses. George Brooks (Bud) Davis has a son named Jeffrey Brooks Davis, and a grandson named Trey Brooks Davis. The name Brooks has been in our family for at least 300 years now, and it appears that it will continue for many more years to come.

Trivia Question Answered: Last week I asked a trivia question: How many GGGGGGGG (8 Greats) grandparents does each of us have in our family tree? The answer is pretty amazing. Each one of us has 1,024 GGGGGGGG grandparents in our family trees. (Good luck trying to find the names of all them!) What an incredible gene pool from which we are each a unique creation. Special commendation goes to Nathan Shepard of San Francisco for being the first to give the correct answer. Honorable mention goes to Steven Paul Shepard of Anacortes, Washington, for working the hardest to find the answer.
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