Saturday, November 01, 2014

90 Years Young And Going Strong, November 1, 2014

So even to old age and grey hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might
to all the generations to come.
~Psalm 71.18

Today is the 90th Birthday of my mother Maida Gower Shepard. I have always considered it beautifully appropriate that she was born on All Saints Day, since she is the closest thing to a saint that our family has to offer. A milestone birthday like this deserves a special celebration and that is what we are having today in Anacortes, Washington where Maida lives with her daughter Barbara and grandson Steven. This afternoon upwards of 60 friends and family will gather at a local restaurant to honor this milestone and usher her into the world of nanogenarians.

Maida was born in Mountain View, Arkansas in 1924 but moved at an early age with her family to Okemah, Oklahoma before moving on westward during World War II, to San Diego. That's where she met navyman Eugene Shepard at the El Cajon Blvd Church of Christ. In San Diego is also where she and Gene were married 69 years ago (see first picture) and then where they raised their 6 children: Gary, me, Linda, Darrell, Barbara and Russell. 36 years ago Maida and Gene retired to Anacortes, Washington, to be near some family and friends, and to support the young Church of Christ in Anacortes, a congregation that Maida still faithfully supports today. Eugene passed away 11 summers ago, but Maida and most of her children still live in Western Washington.

Maida is the senior member of our Shepard and Gower clans. She has one surviving sibling, a younger sister, Vicki Gower Johnston, who lives nearby in Oak Harbor, Washington. She is also the oldest member of the family into which she married in 1945, the family of Will and Bura Davis Shepard. Their youngest child, Thelma Shepard Boyd lives today in Blue Springs, Missouri.

We joyfully celebrate today the first 90 years of this woman who means so much to all her family and friends. (See second picture of Maida taken earlier this year in San Diego with Preslea Shepard, one of her 9 Great Grandchildren.) She is in the process of bouncing back from some health issues that had her in the hospital just two weeks ago, so she may not be partying heartily all afternoon. But we are grateful for the progress she has made and are thankful to God as she strides into the 10th decade of her life.

As a part of Maida's birthday celebration today in Anacortes, I compiled a photo presentation honoring her on this milestone. Below is essentially the same presentation for those of you who were unable to attend the party.


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Steve Shepard

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