Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Impressive Pedigree, Aug 28, 2012

Memories are the only things
that don't change
even when people do.

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you as the travels and visits continue during a very busy but enjoyable summer. We spent 5 weeks away from home earlier in the summer to help usher into the world our newest family member, William Shepard. And we have spent the greater part of the rest of the summer welcoming family and friends to San Diego, much of it in very hot weather. And more out of town family are expected tomorrow. But, as they say, "It's all good!"

Happy Birthday Lyndsey. Tomorrow is the 22nd Birthday of Lyndsey Aquiningoc of Weatherford, Texas. Lyndsey was born in San Diego and lived the first half of her life here until she and her family moved to Weatherford where they seem to be comfortably ensconced.

Lyndsey was the first born of her generation in our Shepard and Gower families: the first child of Manuel and Kerri Aquiningoc, first grandchild of Gary Shepard and Jackie Perry, the first Ggrandchild of Eugene and Maida Gower Shepard, and the first GG of William and Bura Davis Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower. Hers is an impressive pedigree! ;-)

The first picture shows Lyndsey with her sister Mandi Aquiningoc on the right and her uncle Jason Shepard on the left in a picture taken earlier this month in Granbury, Texas.

Remembering Back 54 Years. It was 54 years ago this Friday, on Aug 31, 1958 that my uncle and aunt Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd were married here in San Diego. They have recently moved to Blue Springs, Missouri, near their family in that city, and are settling into life quite well. Thelma did run into one snag when trying to get her Missouri driver's license, but that is a story unto itself that I will save for my next blog post.

Thelma: We're doing okay here. I'm having a hard time adjusting to not having my job, but I guess I will get used to it eventually. Terry is doing okay, but he was used to sitting and watching TV already.

Best wishes to Thelma and Terry as they look back 54 years, and as they adjust to their new life in Missouri. The second picture shows the two of them about a year ago.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Family Matters, Aug 21, 2012

Inside every older person
is a younger person
wondering what the hell happened.
~Cora Harvey Armstrong

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego, California, where Cindy and I are enjoying the company of family to the north. Our son Nathan, his wife Chenda and their children Preslea, Logan and William are here visiting us from Northern California. Also with us is my mom Maida Shepard from Anacortes, Washington as we celebrate the birthday of Cindy's mom Paula Harris, who was 89 years old this past Saturday.

This time with family has also been a time to remember loved ones who have gone before us. We visited Green Wood Cemetery here in San Diego where numerous members of our family are buried, including all four of my grandparents: Will and Bura Davis Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Among family members also buried there is my sister Linda Shepard Clark (1950-1971) who was born 62 years ago today.

The first picture, taken yesterday, shows my mother Maida Gower Shepard in the middle, holding her newest Ggrandchild William Q. Shepard who was born just 3 weeks ago. William's father Nate Shepard is on the right, and I (the proud grandpa) am on the left, to complete this four generation picture.  

Happy Anniversary Ruth and Eric! Today is the 19th anniversary of Eric and Ruth Styer Russell of Red Rock, Nevada. Eric is the oldest Ggrandchild of Will and Bura Davis Shepard, and the oldest grandchild of Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell.

Ruthie: Eric and I are going to Hawaii for my niece's wedding. It will be a couple of days late but I think that's a fine way to spend our 19th wedding anniversary. I will send you a current picture then. Thanks for thinking of us:)

Happy Birthday Amanda! This coming Saturday is the 29th birthday of Amanda Ortiz of Blue Springs, Mo. Amanda is the daughter of Kim Boyd Clark and the late Gabe Ortiz.

The second picture shows Amanda on the right, with her sister-in-law Desiree Ortiz on the left.

Amanda: I am doing well, and keeping busy. This last year has been great having my niece and nephews so close now and also having Grandmother and Granddad living near by. We have had some big changes in our family this last year. My summer has been super hot but great. I am actually looking forward to fall. It's crazy that I am celebrating my 29th birthday on the 25th. I will just be going out to dinner with my family and hopefully get to spend some time on the lake. Thank you for the birthday wishes!
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Special Moments Plucked From Life, Aug 16, 2012

If you pluck a special moment from life and frame it,
are you defying death, decay and the passage of time,
or are you submitting to it?
-Orhan Pamuk

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday Linda Shepard! Today, August 16, is the 19th birthday of my niece Linda Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. Linda is the daughter of Russ and Pam Shepard, and the last of the 9 grandchildren of Maida Shepard of Anacortes. She is also one of the Ggrandchildren of both Will and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower.

Linda is the one referred to at the end of the poem by her father Russ Shepard, which I included in this blog a couple of weeks ago. That poem remembered Russ' sister Linda Shepard who died in 1971. The last few lines of that poem read, "It's still hard to believe that you are gone. But I gave life to someone to carry your name on."  Birthday girl Linda is named after her late aunt Linda Shepard (1950-71) of San Diego.

The first picture, taken earlier this year, shows Linda (in the pink glasses and mustache) with her good friend Brittany.

Linda: I am doing good. I just passed four months on my job at Fidalgo Care Center and Rosario Assisted Living here in Anacortes. I am also going to school full time. I am starting my prerequisites for my RN and will graduate in March 2016 if all goes as planned. I am not really planning on doing much for my birthday. I think my mom is trying to plan a dinner or something. Turning 19 is just another birthday in a way. I am just ready to hit the pavement of life running with work and school. I am staying pretty busy with everything but I am excited for the end results when the work pays off.

Remembering 1957. The second picture I am including today is an old family photo from 1957. It seems to me there is something extraordinary about pictures from the 1950s. Probably because that was the decade when I was a youngster and therefore the time of my oldest family memories. In looking at my photo collection I see that it is also the last decade when nearly all photos were black and white.

I had never seen this second picture until my cousin Michael Harrell posted it on Facebook a few weeks ago. It shows the family of my aunt Vicki Gower Harrell and her husband at the time Carl Harrell. Michael (the little boy in the middle front, who lives today in Mountain View, California) told me the following about this picture.

We had just returned from Tokyo (where I was born) and moved to Fort Ord in Monterey. I believe that picture was taken in front of our home in base housing. A couple of years before my dad died he and I became reacquainted and actually got to be pretty good friends. When he passed away I went to his home in West Palm Beach, FL to put his affairs in order and makes sure his wife was taken care of. I was going through his things when I found that picture. It was like I found a goldmine. I will forever be grateful we got to connect again before his passing. By the way, in that family picture, going from left to right are Gloria, Dad, David, Me, Mom, and Paula.

The children in this picture are 4 of the 12 grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Gower. These four, along with their 8 cousins (myself included), spent most of their growing up years in San Diego. Thanks so much to Michael for sharing this family picture, this special moment plucked from life.

The question in the quote at the top of this post, posed by the novelist Orhan Pamuk in his book Istanbul, is a good question for those of us who love old family pictures. When you admire them, enjoy them, frame them, "are you defying death, decay and the passage of time, or are you submitting to it?"

What do you think?
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Life's Undress Rehearsal, Aug 10, 2012

Home is... life's undress rehearsal,
its backroom, from which we go forth.
~Harriet Stowe

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego during these dog days of summer. I would complain about how hot it is here in Southern California, but I am sure I would get no sympathy from many of you where the weather is even worse!

Happy Birthday today to Heather Robson Cotton, who lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Sean and their daughters Victoria and Alexandria. Heather is one of the 14 Ggrandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Heather is also the granddaughter of Vicki Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington.

The first picture shows Heather with her mother Paula Tuzzolino, also of Oak Harbor.

Heather: We are good. Just busy with work and raising our 2 beautiful children. Just going to dinner with the family for my birthday. I am a little bummed about 36. I can't believe I'll be 40 in 4 yrs! 

Happy Birthday Jeremy. This Sunday, Aug 12, is the birthday of Jeremy Ortiz, the son of Kim Boyd Clark and the late Gabe Ortiz. Jeremy is also one of the 21 Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. Jeremy is the father of the famous Ortiz twins who were born earlier this year, and whose pictures have appeared several times in this blog. Jeremy and his wife Desiree and their children live in Blue Springs, Missouri.

Jeremy's maternal grandparents are Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd who have recently moved to Blue Springs, Missouri from New Mexico. Kim: We are in Missouri with my parents. It has been a crazy week. They went from moving into an apartment to buying a house in one day. They live in Blue Springs, Mo. now, about 3 miles from us. My dad is very happy here and mom is adjusting lol.  It's non stop here -- the babies are doing great but they sure keep us busy along with the big kids. We will be happy to see the school bus next week :).

The second picture I am including shows dad Jeremy with the new twins. Mom Desiree says: Daddy holding the boys for the first time :) smile says it all!

Last week I discovered that a couple of family members were inadvertently removed from my emailing list. If you were one of those people, my apologies. If you or someone you know has also been removed from the list accidentally, please let me know and I will make the correction. If your email needs updating, or if for some other reason a change needs to be made, just drop me a note and I'll make it right.
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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Happy Anniversary James and Kelly! Aug 5, 2012

The way we talk to our children
becomes their inner voice.
~Peggy O'Mara

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego, California where Cindy and I are finally home after several weeks in Northern California where we helped usher into this world the newest member of our family, William Quincy Shepard, who is now a week old.

Happy Anniversary to James and Kelly Shepard Sauvage today, August 5. Kelly, who was born in San Diego, is the third child of my brother Gary Shepard of Oak Harbor, Washington, and Jackie Perry of Weatherford, Texas.

As I sat in church this morning, I was remembering back 12 years ago when, on this very day and in this very place, James Sauvage and Kelly Shepard were married. Now after a move half way across the country, and the birth of two wonderful sons, they are happily living in Weatherford, Texas and celebrating today a dozen years of married life.

The first picture shows James and Kelly with their sons Kyle and Nate. 

Kelly: Hi Uncle Steve! Yes, Sunday is 12 years since James and I got married. Time goes by so fast! We are doing really good... trying not to melt away in this Texas heat! We don't have any big plans; we'll just go out to dinner. James always stays busy with work, coaching and refereeing football, which is about to get started again. I stay busy working, and taking care of two active boys. We sure have a blast together. I was so honored that you were the one that married us in that beautiful church 12 years ago!! Thank you!

Setting The Record Straight. I need to make a correction to something I said a couple of weeks ago regarding this part of our family. I realized my mistake when I looked closely at the picture I included in my post last week. I am including the picture again this week, which shows Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower, and a number of their family members. It is a picture that was taken in 1968 in front of the Gower home on Lynne Street in San Diego.

The two youngest family members in this picture are Kerri Shepard (on the right, being held by her aunt Linda Shepard) and Shaun Gower (in the middle front, in his father Hershell's lap). I said a couple of weeks ago that Kerri was the first Ggrandchild of Leroy and Nola Gower. But Shaun is the older of the two babies and is therefore the first Gower Ggrandchild, though only by a few months.

Shaun was born in England November 8, 1967, while Kerri was born in Michigan March 3, 1968. This picture then, which looks to have been taken in the spring of 1968, reflects a family gathering that was celebrating these two Gower Ggrandchildren whose parents had recently returned to Southern California from far away.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

At the Crossroads of Life and Death, August 1, 2012

She was much too young
to lose her life,
and I was much too young
to lose her.
~Russell Shepard

Hello Family and Friends,

Often in genealogical research life and death get juxtaposed. Such is the case today as we remember the death of one dear one while basking in the light of a new arrival.

Celebrating William Quincy Shepard. The new arrival, of course, is the son of Nathan and Chenda Shepard, William Quincy, who was born last Saturday at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Cindy and I are still with the happy family in Northern California and are getting used to the new little cry, trying to figure out what you call a baby with his name, and trying to get our minds around the fact that three little ones inhabit this household.

The first picture shows little William (in the middle), with his parents Nathan and Chenda, his grandmother Cindy with his brother Logan (1) on the left, and his grandfather Steve with his sister Preslea on the right. 

In William's Shepard lineage dating to 1835 every person has "William" somewhere in their name with one exception. This is his lineage: William Quincy Shepard (b. 2012)/ Nathan William Shepard (b. 1977)/ Steven Dale Shepard (b. 1948)/ Eugene William Shepard (1921-2003)/ William Shepard (1888-1976)/ William Elmer Shepard (1862-1915)/ William Shepard (1835-1862).

Remembering Linda Shepard. The joy of William's arrival is placed alongside the realization that today is the anniversary of the death of my sister Linda Shepard Clark, who died in a traffic accident in Lubbock, Texas, August 1, 1971 at the age of 20. She and husband Jerry Clark were students at Lubbock Christian College at the time.

The second picture was taken in front of the Gower home on Lynne Street in San Diego in 1968. It shows Linda in the green dress on the right, holding her infant niece Kerri Shepard. Also in this picture are my grandparents Leroy Gower (left center) and Nola Shannon Gower (behind Linda), as well as my cousin Hershell Gower (seated in front) holding his infant son Shaun, with his wife Janet Nolan Gower behind him. On the left are Darrell, Maida, Barbara and Russell Shepard. Can any of you identify others in this picture? Let me know.

Linda's death occurred 41 years ago today, but her life is still remembered fondly by all of us who knew her. My brother Russell, during a difficult time for him last year, wrote the following poem about Linda's death. Thanks to Russ for his willingness to have it shared with all of you.

My Loss
by Russell Shepard

It's been 40 years to the month.
I was nine years old; too young to
even be a punk.
But I remember oh so well
that night we got that call.
They said you weren't coming
home at all. My loss.

It was the first time I saw
my dad really break down
and cry; my mom was sitting
there by his side.
Tears of grief, sorrow and pain.
This family would never be
the same. The loss of a daughter,
sister and wife. She was much
too young to lose her life, and I
was much too young to lose her.

They say time heals all wounds,
And it's better to have loved
and lost, than never to have loved
at all. But we don't have a
choice when heaven comes
to call. But through all the heartache
sorrow and pain, heaven was
the place that gained.
My loss.

The scars from my loss
still remain. I still feel
the pain. It's still hard to
believe that you are gone.
But I gave life to someone
to carry your name on.

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