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Mamie Erna Strieber Shepperd


1917 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Mamie Erna Strieber Shepperd Obituary
GLADEWATER Mamie Shepperd was born December 30, 1917 and passed away at the Shepperd family farm in Gladewater January 9, 2015 shortly after celebrating her ninety-seventh birthday. She was the seventh of eight children born to Louis and Mamie Crawford Strieber in Yorktown, DeWitt County, Texas.
She had a generous spirit and articulate intelligence that captivated her family, friends and community. She was admired for her inner strength, independent personality and dignified hospitality.
She graduated high school at age fifteen as valedictorian of her class in Yorktown and enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin where four of her siblings attended. It was at U. T. that she met her husband, the late John Ben Shepperd. They married October 6, 1938 after she graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts degree from the U. T. Austin Journalism School. During their 51-year marriage, she was the first-lady to his political, corporate and volunteer leadership roles. While he served as President of the National Jaycees and as Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General, she made a home for their four children, first in Gladewater then in Austin during his terms in state office. In 1957 the family moved to Odessa where she remained until her husband's death in 1990 after which she relocated to his hometown of Gladewater.
In Odessa she was involved with her husband's and children's activities and still found time to serve on cultural, philanthropic and political organizations. She served on the board for the West Texas Rehabilitation Center and was a founding organizer and chairman of the Crystal Ball. The New York Metropolitan Opera tapped her talents as their West Texas representative. For many years she played an integral role on the board of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and was an organizer of the Symphony Debs. She was a board member of the regional Chihuahuan Research Institute headquartered in Fort Davis.
At various times she held local and state offices in the Texas Democratic Party. During Lyndon Johnson's campaign for president in 1964 she was the Chairman of the Ladies for Lyndon West Texas committee. She also joined Lady Bird Johnson on the whistle-stop Lady Bird Special train as it made its way through eight southern states.
An avid reader, she was a member of the Odessa Book Club and an organizer of the Read and Review Club. She was the Odessa chairman of the book drive which founded The University of Texas Permian Basin's library in the early 1970s. Over 300,000 books were collected during that drive. She was a member of Gladewater's Lee Public Library and the Gladewater Historical Museum.
She was most proud of her success in the stock market. Her interest began when a group of women friends founded the Odessa Friendship Investment Club. She wrote, "The Dow Jones average was at 800 and I remember the first time the Dow traded one million shares." She followed the stock market daily and took an active role in investment decisions.
An enduring accomplishment was her role as a tree farmer and steward of the land. After her move to East Texas, she embarked upon a reforestation of the Shepperd farm on the banks of the Sabine River east of Gladewater. John Ben joked that she replanted a pine plantation on the grazing meadows that took his father decades to clear. She also harvested and planted additional acreage which was devastated by the wild fires of September 2011. As a testament to her forestry practices and as a legacy for her descendants, she replanted the charred land in 2013 and the pine saplings are growing and thriving.
She was predeceased by her husband, John Ben Shepperd, her son John Ben Shepperd, Jr. and her daughter Marianne Shepperd Morse. Surviving children are her son and daughter-in-law, Alfred L. and Honey Shepperd of San Antonio and her daughter and son-in-law, Suzanne and Gary McIntosh of Austin. Her nine grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren are devoted to the memory of Mimi and Da.
A memorial will be scheduled later in the year. The family asks that those who wish to honor her memory donate to the , to the Mamie Shepperd Scholarship at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin or to the Gladewater Historical Museum.
Published in Odessa American on Jan. 13, 2015
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