Friday, April 28, 2023

Remembering My Father

Today is the anniversary of the birth of two of the more important people in my life. My father Eugene Shepard was born in 1921, 102 years ago today, on a farm in the panhandle of Oklahoma. He has been gone for 20 years now, but his legacy remains. The family of his father William Shepard had migrated from Madison County, Illinois to the OK panhandle in 1905. His mother Bura Davis and her family had migrated to Oklahoma in the spring of 1913 from Indiana. Soon after relocating, farming neighbors Bura Davis and Will Shepard met, fell in love, and then were married in 1915. My Dad was the 3rd birth of Will and Bura. 

Eugene Shepard
in 1995 in Anacortes, Wa.
From the Panhandle to Western Washington. My Dad's first 7 years were spent on the Shepard farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle. In 1928 he and his family then moved 170 miles northwest to Southeast Colorado where they sought a better life. But after 12 years in Colorado the Shepards decided that rural Colorado was not the place for them. So they moved again, this time from rural Two Buttes, Colorado to the bustling city of San Diego. It was obviously a huge change in life style for all of them, even though I never heard my Dad or his family complain about that transition. 

In San Diego, during World War II, he met Maida Gower and after an extended wartime romance, they were married. Life in San Diego was good for them for 38 years, until 1978 when they upped and relocated to Anacortes, Washington. It was in Western Washington that Dad lived happily for the last 25 years of his life. 

Nola Shannon Gower
about 1990
A Life Well Lived. On this, the anniversary of his birth, I celebrate the good life he lived, the long career he had at the Point Loma Fuel Supply Depot, the devoted family man he was, and the family legacy he left behind. He was a great father to all 6 of his children. He loved his grandchildren. His descendants today stretch from Western Washington to North Texas to San Diego, and number a total of 32.

Eugene was born on the 18th birthday of the woman who would be his mother-in-law, Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004). So today I also celebrate my Grandmother Nola Shannon Gower on the 120th anniversary of her birth in Mt View, Arkansas. She was the consummate grandmother who loved and respected her 12 grandchildren and their families. As a young mother she and husband Leroy relocated to Okemah, Ok in 1925 where they lived for 15 years before moving to San Diego. After almost 60 years in Southern California, she moved to Anacortes in her 90s, and lived her last years there with her daughter and family.

These two very important people in my life -- Eugene Shepard and Nola Shannon Gower -- I celebrate with great honor and respect today as I remember their birthdays. Thanks be to God for the wonderful lives they lived and the lasting impact of their many descendants.
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Steve Shepard

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