It's not where you live,
it's the people who surround you
that make you feel at home.
- J.B. McGee
Beverly Jean Russell Wilk
with Granddaughter Emma Beverly Jean Wilk
My Cousin Beverly. Today would have been the 80th birthday of my late cousin Beverly Russell Wilk (1939-1974). She was born in 1939 in Two Buttes, Colorado, the second child and only daughter of Bill and Pauline Russell Shepard. Bev moved with her family to San Diego at just a year old. That year, 1940, was when the first members of our family arrived in the Golden State. After graduating from San Diego High School in 1957, Bev married Phil Wilk in 1965 and with him had two children, Karl and Shannon. Bev died unfortunately at just 35 years old in 1974 of a brain aneurysm in San Diego, leaving husband Phil to raise two young children.
For each of the three persons being celebrated today -- Beverly, Eugene and Nola -- I have created a composite picture showing each of them with one of their present day grandchildren. The first picture shows Bev with her granddaughter Emma Beverly Jean Wilk. Emma lives with her mother Shannon Wilk in Atchison, Kansas.
with his Granddaughter Rachel Shepard
This second picture shows Eugene with one of his 9 grandchildren, Rachel Shepard of Seattle, Washington, the daughter of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Shepard.
My Grandmother Gower. Tomorrow is also the anniversary of the birth of my maternal Grandmother Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004). Born in 1903 in Mountain View, Arkansas, Grandma Gower and husband Leroy moved to Okemah, Oklahoma and lived there for 17 years before settling in San Diego where she lived for nearly 60 years. She lived the last few years of her life in Anacortes, Washington with her daughter Maida Gower Shepard and family.
Nola Shannon Gower
with Grandson Michael Harrell
The Bright Light of Their Exemplary Lives. Nola, Eugene and Beverly: all of us who knew them will agree that they represent the very best in the history of our family. They were quality people of outstanding faith who loved life, their families and the world in which they lived. They helped shape our family in ways that are still being felt today. I am proud to honor them on this weekend of their birthdays. The grandchildren pictured above are just a sampling of their many descendants through whom the bright light of their exemplary lives continues to shine.
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