Monday, April 28, 2014

A Favorite Day of the Year, April 28, 2014

Change it had to come
We knew it all along...
But the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
I'll tip my hat...
Smile and grin at the change 
all around me.
~Peter Townsend

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, a day to remember three of the finest people in the recent history of our family: my father, my maternal grandmother, and a cousin. All three were San Diegans for much of their lives, but none of the three were born in California.

Beverly Russell Wilk. Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the birth of my cousin Beverly Russell Wilk, the oldest granddaughter of Will and Bura Davis Shepard, both of whom outlived her. Bev's untimely death came in 1974 at just 35 years old. Her descendants today are her daughter Shannon Wilk and her granddaughter Emma Beverly Jean Wilk of Atchison, Kansas. Most of our family members are too young to have known her, but she was a delightful person who had a beautiful disposition and loved all her family.

The first picture shows Beverly Russell with her cousin Barbara Shepard in 1961 when Bev was 22 and Barbara was just 2.

Eugene Shepard. Today is the birthday of my father Eugene William Shepard who died 11 years ago in 2003 in Anacortes, Washington. He was born in Beaver County, Oklahoma, but lived the largest part of his life in San Diego, California where all six of his and Maida's children were born. His parents and siblings moved to San Diego in 1940 where they lived for most of their lives. Dad retired in 1976 and moved with Maida to Anacortes in 1978 where he lived the last 25 years of his life. 

The second picture shows Eugene and Maida Shepard in a picture taken in the early 1970s, when they still lived in San Diego. In the early 1970s, many of us guys -- God only knows why! -- were sprouting a "frizzy 'do" such as dad has here. 

Maida and most of her and Eugene's family still live in Western Washington, although Maida has been known to find her way back to Southern California periodically for visits. 

The family picture shows her and the family in a picture taken just a week ago on Easter Sunday in San Diego where she and daughter Barbara are enjoying a visit with their California kin. On the far right is me holding our grandson Logan. Next to us is our son Nathan holding his daughter Preslea, and his wife Chenda holding their son William. On the far left is my wife Cindy next to Maida's daughter Barbara, and Jerry Clark. Maida is in the very middle with Cindy's mom Paula Harris just in front. 

Nola Shannon Gower. Today is also a day to remember my grandmother Nola Shannon Gower, who was born 111 years ago, on this day in 1903. Or was she?

Since 1940-something there has been a question about whether Nola was born in 1903 or 1902. When her sister had a birth certificate generated for Nola during World War II, the certificate said she was born in 1902, even though Nola swore she was born in 1903. There was never a question, however, about WHERE she was born and raised: Mountain View, Arkansas. She and husband Leroy relocated to Oklahoma for 17 years before moving on to San Diego in 1942 where they settled for the rest of their lives. 

The final picture of this post shows Nola on a park bench with a dog in 1990. Like many of the pictures in my library I am not positive who took it or where. The picture file says 1990. It may have been taken when she was visiting her granddaughter Gloria Watson in Knoxville, Tennessee. If so, credit for the photo should probably be given to cousin Gloria.
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Steve Shepard

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