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Richard Shepard, a dedicated teacher, mentor, and counselor to thousands of young people, and for thirty-eight years the Guidance Director at Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, died last Friday in Westport. He was 82. Known to his friends and colleagues as Shep, Richard received his Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport, and went on to teach at both Columbia and New York University in their summer programs in Adult Education. During his time at Columbia he was awarded two different teaching fellowships, and the Peabody Prize, and at New York University he was honored with a third fellowship and an award from the Harvard Educational Foundation. He was given the University of Bridgeport's Distinguished Alumni Award and Alumni Recognition Award, and was elected as well to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. A mainstay in Connecticut's adult education and community service organizations, he taught history and adolescent psychology in various evening and summer programs, and was an advisor to the ASPIRA Hispanic Organization, as well as a member of the Bridgeport Educational Association, the Connecticut Educational Association, and the Greater Bridgeport Retired Teacher's Association. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Bridgeport Boys' Choir and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, an usher and a vestry member and a behind-the-scenes benefactor for and a lifelong member of Calvary St. George's Episcopal Church, and for his outstanding work at Central High School was named "Connecticut Counselor of the Year" in 1978. It was almost certainly as a counselor that he made the biggest impact on the most lives. Over his years at Central High School he was invaluable to an enormous number of young people, providing tireless assistance and counsel when it came to colleges and universities and possible occupations. He seemed to find no form of assistance too large or too small, from the broadest sorts of discussions as to what constituted a life well-lived down to help with raising the money to buy a yearbook, or to attend the prom. His generosity with nearly any and all charities or fundraisers was legendary. Those fortunate enough to have known Richard came to understand his passion for reading, for self-education and for higher education, and especially for critical thinking. A lifelong bachelor and lover of solitude, he nonetheless prized good conversation and skeptical debate, and he loved both visiting with friends and supporting the public libraries, and he delighted as well in extended walks - sometimes as far as ten miles, from Bridgeport's Seaside Park deep into Fairfield - which, towards the end of his life, became a daily pleasure for him. Richard may have lived alone, but he will be missed, and mourned, by a multitude. He is survived by his older brother, Albert, his sister-in-law, Ida, and his nephews John and Jim. Friends are invited to attend his Funeral on Friday at 12:00 pm at Calvery/St. George Episcopal Church, Clinton Ave, Bridgeport. Burial will be private. Their will be no calling hours. Larson Funeral Home, 2496 North Ave, Bridgeport is in care of arrangements
Published in Connecticut Post on Apr. 3, 2013