Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve, December 31, 2018

The best is yet to be.
~Robert Browning

As we find ourselves on the cusp of 2019 it is a time to be grateful for all the experiences of the past year, the joyful and the sobering, the uplifting and the humbling. I am most thankful for the joy of family and friends. I am grateful for the blessing of being able to celebrate my mother's 94th birthday with her in November. In June we said goodbye to Cindy's mother Paula Harris. As we celebrated her 95 years we gave great thanks for a life well lived.

Cindy and I also give great thanks for Nathan and our three grandchildren and for all the children in our larger family, who bless us with their energy, innocence, intelligence and hope for the future. I am deeply appreciative of all of you readers of the Shepard's Crook, friends and family, many of whom we don't get to see often enough. Even so, all of you are to be thanked for your support of our family and your place in this great enterprise of being a family circle.

William Shepard with daughter Thelma
about 1940
Remembering William Shepard (1888-1976). I cannot let this month of December pass without remembering my Grandfather William Shepard. Christmas Day this past week was the 130th anniversary of his birth in Alton, Illinois. He was born in that small town on the banks of the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, Missouri. It was there that he spent the first 16 years of his life, where his values were formed and his dreams for the future took shape. The child of William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens Shepard, he had one sister, Sadie Shepard Pruett. The four of them migrated to Beaver County, Oklahoma in 1905 which is where William encountered the James Brooks Davis family. In 1915 William married the oldest child of that family, the teenager Bura Davis, and with her had four children, the third of whom was my father. Their youngest child Thelma Shepard Boyd is the last remaining member of William and Bura's original family. The first picture I am including today shows my Grandfather Shepard with daughter Thelma. It was taken just about the time they moved to San Diego in 1940.

Granddad William has been gone for over 40 years but the impact of him and Grandmother Bura Shepard is still keenly felt by those of us whose lives they touched. I live in constant gratitude for my grandparents, the lives they lived and the values they gave us.

In the last two years I have learned more about the Shepard ancestors of Granddad than ever before. He has come to my mind a number of times recently as I have discovered much about his pre-Civil War relatives from Belmont County, Ohio. Many of them are people he probably never knew, people about whom I would have cherished the opportunity to share with him.

Darrell and Mary Shepard, 1984
with Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard
Happy Anniversary, Darrell and Mary! Today, New Years Eve, my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary Medina Shepard are celebrating 36 years of marriage. They were married on the last day of 1982 while they were students at Abilene Christian University. They live today in Monroe, Washington, north of Seattle. Their home is not far from their 3 children and their 4 Grandchildren. Best Wishes to Mary and Darrell for a wonderful anniversary!

Remembering Ron Gibbs. I mentioned several weeks ago that I had reconnected with Ron Gibbs, an old family friend from years ago. The Gibbs and the Shepard families go way back nearly a century, from their time in San Diego, then Southeast Colorado and Beaver County, Oklahoma before that. Just this fall I had written about the long friendship of these two families. Ron's brother Steve, who lives in Valley Center, north of San Diego, notified me recently that Ron passed away of a heart attack in Searcy, Arkansas just a week before Christmas. Our condolences and best wishes are extended to Ron's entire family.

The very best to all of you for a happy and prosperous new year in 2019!
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Steve Shepard

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