Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Chapter Closes, January 26, 2010

Generations pass like leaves fall
from our family tree.
Each season new life blossoms
and grows benefiting 
from the strength and experience 
of those who went before.
~Heidi Swapp

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this fine winter's day in San Diego where the weather is exceptional and the living is good.

A Chapter Closes. Our hearts go out to the family of Mildred Beck Davis (1911- 2011) who died last week after suffering a stroke. (See first picture of her in 2006.) One of her grandsons, David Jones, put together a video presentation that you can view at this link.

My cousin Dane Shepard attended her service on Jan 24. Dane: "I just returned from Mildred's memorial. I was moved and impressed. It was a deeply loving tribute to one whose direct influence spanned four generations. Of the 107 descendants listed in the program, most of them were present. Mildred was indeed a special person of love and faith whose life began in a simple dwelling on the prairie (not far from where Pauline, Elmer, and Eugene Shepard were born) near Logan in the panhandle of OK. The great changes and challenges she experienced in her lifetime are quite impressive and how she lived through and met them is even more admirable. I was so impressed with the great respect and devotion expressed by her grandchildren. She leaves a loving legacy which I find rare these days. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have shared in this very special tribute."

With Mildred's passing a chapter closes in the history of our family. My grandmother Bura Davis Shepard and Mildred's husband Jesse Davis were two of the 7 children of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Mildred was the last surviving member of that generation in our family. (The second picture from the 1930s shows a young and smiling Jesse and Mildred Davis.)

Those 7 Davis children and their spouses spawned a unique and wonderful clan of people (Davises, Shepards, Kilpatricks, Jenkinses, and Millikans) whose descendants are spread out over much of the United States (especially Oklahoma, Texas, California and Washington) and number at least 400 today.

The lives of those 7 couples span the entire 20th century and cover quite an amazing era in American life. From the invention of the airplane, to the time of the internet and space travel; from a U.S. population of 60 million, to over 310 million today. Mildred's passing, then, brings to a close the era of those couples, who leave a remarkable legacy. We can do no better than live grateful for their lives, and the values, the faith and the heritage they have left us. Mildred reminds us that we are blessed to be heirs of these fine folk.

Happy First Anniver- sary! Best wishes to Kevin and Havilah (Colgain) Wardle who were married one year ago Jan 23, in the wilds of Utah. Or, as Havilah says, in "a place that is full of history and beauty, as old as time and as young as a newborn, a place that holds its ground, that is always evolving, that is sacred and precious, just like our relationship."

Havilah is the daughter of Joan Shepard of Dixon, California and the granddaughter of Elmer Shepard of Mustang, Texas. The happy couple live in West Valley City, Utah.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

No Greater Joy, January 20, 2011

There is no greater joy
than family joy.
~Dane Shepard

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego, where Cindy and I have returned after a few weeks away.

Oklahoma Shepards Celebrate. Tomorrow is the birthday of my cousin Dane Shepard and his son Nathan (see first picture) who were both born on January 21. Dane and Nathan, along with wife and mother Cindy and daughter and sister Kaylan, live in Newcastle, Oklahoma.
 Dane's father is Elmer Shepard, the older son of Bura and Will Shepard, and the oldest living member of the Shepard clan.

Dane wrote me recently and said, "I have attached a photo of Nathan and I since we share the same day. Regarding our winter, compared to other parts of the country, we have had a dry and storm free season so far. Temps are cold at times and will get into the teens at night very soon. We have stayed healthy for the most part and are grateful as we continue to help with parents and other family members. Elmer is having a hard time right now and we hope his doctor will be able to ease his condition. We look forward to a challenging and rewarding year. We enjoy doing things together as a family. Sharing new experiences with our kids is really fulfilling. 

"I talked with Bud Davis and Mildred has been sent home with hospice care. (See 1930 wedding picture of Mildred with her late husband Jesse Davis.) She is not on any life support yet has shown some response and apparent improvement. However, it is only a matter of time. She has had a lot of family and friends visit and Bud says it has been a good situation for all considering the circumstances. I'm glad I got to visit with her a couple of times in the past two years. She is a sweet lady with a great sense of humor and has a loving family and plenty of friends and brethren close to her. 

"We will keep on praying and working, and remembering the privilege of having the opportunity to return some of the grace given so lovingly to us. Thanks so much for keeping us informed about so many, past and present. There is no greater joy than family joy."

Looking Ahead. The weather has been frightfully frigid so far this winter for many of our family scattered around the country, including those who live in Anacortes, Washington. But we can be sure that, come August, Western Washington will be beautiful and a wonderful place to have our Shepard Family Reunion August 13, 2011. You are invited to mark your calendars and join us.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Year, A New Book, January 13

History is the big myth we live,
and in our living, constantly remake.

~Robert Penn Warren

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you wherever you may be, from Dorrington, California, where Cindy and I find ourselves on this beautiful winter's day. A couple of feet of snow blankets the ground around our house, but the storms have passed for now and the weather is as pleasant as one could hope for at this time of the year.

First of all a reminder: a Shepard Family Reunion is being planned this coming summer on August 13, 2011 in Anacortes, Washington. You are invited to make your plans and join us. Secondly a concern: Our prayers and best wishes continue to be with the family of Mildred Beck Davis of Bartlesville, Oklahoma who suffered a severe stroke last Saturday and is in Jane Phillips Hospital.

Happy Birthday, Mary Shepard! Monday of this week (Jan 10) was the birthday of Mary (Medina) Shepard, the wife of my brother Darrell Shepard. They live in Normandy Park, Washington, south of Seattle, where they are managers of a retirement facility. Mary is originally from Chicago but attended Abilene Christian University where she met and then married Darrell. They have lived in Western Washington now for over 25 years. Their three children, Christopher, Rachel and Patrick, live not far from them in the Seattle area. Best wishes to Mary on this milestone birthday.

Happy Birthday Eric Russell! Tomorrow is the birthday of Eric Russell who lives with his wife Ruth and next door to his father Rex in Red Rock, Nevada. Eric's lineage is Rex Russell/ Pauline Shepard Russell/ Bura Davis Shepard/ James and Caroline Davis. Happy Birthday to Eric.

A New Year, A New Book. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a new history of the Davis family has been written by Nancy Bushong, titled "Davis and Beck Family History". Nancy is the wife of James Bushong, one of the Ggrandchildren of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Her work is one more in a line of compilations of the descendants of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. (See the first picture from the 1960s, showing the 7 Davis children: Nona, Myra, Bura, Margie, Esther, Lawrence and Jesse.)

The first one to do some careful chronicling of our Davis family in recent decades was Ronald Davis (1931-1998), a grandchild of James and Caroline. In the 1980s, when personal computers first became popular, Ronald gathered as much Davis information as he could on computer. In 1989 he was kind enough to send me print outs of the family data he compiled, which I still find helpful.

Previous Davis Family Histories. In the 1990s, at least two Davis family history booklets were put together. The first one, in 1993, was done by the family of Jesse Davis, and was primarily about Jesse and Mildred and their offspring, but included some information and photos of other family members of James and Caroline Davis.

In 1995 a more complete family history of James and Caroline Davis was put together, titled "Our Heritage Generations Past and Present." It states that it is the research of Ronald Davis, Jerry Davis, Mildred (Beck) Davis and Marjorie (Davis) Williams.

To set along side these efforts is Nancy Bushong's new book. It is more about the Beck side of the Jesse and Mildred (Beck) Davis family, but it still gives a good summary of the Davises, with 3 of the book's 10 chapters devoted to them.

Descendants of Marmaduke Davis. A unique contribution of this new family history is the Descendant Chart in the back of the book. It is titled "Descendants of Marmaduke Davis", and lists nearly 350 descendants of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Not every section of the chart is complete, as you might imagine, but it is the most comprehensive listing on paper that I have seen of these Davis descendants. I am most familiar with the family of James and Caroline's oldest daughter Bura Davis Shepard, my grandmother. That particular section is remarkably complete and as near to being correct as one could hope for.

Copies of the book can be obtained from Nancy, although she has told me that the number of printed copies is limited. She is to be thanked for her great efforts! As other family members step forward in years to come to compile information on this big wonderful family of ours, Nancy's book will be one more valuable resource.
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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cheers to a New Year! January 6, 2011

Cheers to a new year 
and another chance 
for us to get it right. 
~Oprah Winfrey

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this first week in January! It is not only a time of great possibilities as this new year begins, it is also a day that some call Epiphany. 

Cindy and I are presently in Alameda, California visiting Nathan, Chenda and Preslea, who are in the process of moving into a new apartment.

Happy Birthday Cindy! Tomorrow is the birthday of my wife Cindy (Harris) Shepard. We will celebrate her special day here in the Bay Area in the midst of the moving and house warming activities this week for Nathan and Chenda.

The first picture (above) was taken 30 years ago this month when we were living in Los Alamitos, California. It shows the young working mother Cindy and our son Nathan at three years old. 

The second picture was taken two weeks ago here in San Diego and shows Cindy in the middle with our grandbaby Preslea in her lap. On the left is Cindy's mom Paula Harris, and on the right is Preslea's mother Chenda Shepard.

Russell Anniversary. This past Tuesday, January 4 was the anniversary of my aunt and uncle Bill and Pauline (Shepard) Russell. They were married in 1935 in Springfield, Colorado near the tiny town of Two Buttes, where the family lived at the time. They had their two children, Rex and Beverly, in 1936 and 1939, just in time for them and the family of her parents Will and Bura Shepard to move to Southern California in 1940. The second picture I am including was taken in 1994 and shows Bill and Pauline in front of their home on Mandalay Place in San Diego where they lived for many years.

Uncle Bill (Willie Davis Russell) had an uncanny name for a person marrying into the family of Pauline Shepard. His father-in-law's name was "William" Shepard and his mother-in-law's maiden name was "Davis."

Cheers to a New Year!
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year! Jan 1, 2011

Be always at war with your vices, 
at peace with your family,
and let each new year find you a better person.
~Benjamin Franklin

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy New Year to all of you on this first day of 2011!

We are enjoying New Year's Day here in San Diego where sunshine has replaced the very rainy weather we have been having, and the flooding seems to be over for now. It was the wettest December this area has seen in many years.  

Happy Anniversary! Yesterday was the 28th wedding anniversary of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary (Medina) Shepard. The first picture shows the two of them in 1990.

They presently live in Kirkland, Washington, but a new job for both of them will soon relocate them in the area near SeaTac. They were married on New Year's Eve, 1982 in Abilene, Texas where they were attending Abilene Christian University. Happy Anniversary to Darrell and Mary!

The second picture shows Darrell and Mary just last week on Christmas day at the home of Maida Shepard in Anacortes, Washington. Darrell and Mary are in the front on the left sitting next to their oldest son Christopher. In the back is their daughter Rachel on the left with her friend Brian, and their son Patrick on the right with his girl friend Nicole. (Thanks to Barbara Shepard who took this picture.)

Happy Birthday, Chenda! Today is the birthday of our daughter-in-law Chenda Shepard. She and husband Nathan and 9 month old Preslea now live in Alameda, California, just across the bay from San Francisco, where Nathan works.

The second picture was taken on Christmas Day as we celebrated the holiday at the home of Paula Harris here in San Diego. It shows Chenda and Nathan and their first baby Preslea. Their second baby is expected this coming June.

In the words of Ben Franklin, may this "new year find you a better person." May 2011 be a wonderful year for you and your family!
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