Ross Miller Shepard

Shepard Ross Miller Shepard, died on Sunday, October 20, 2013, at his home in Eugene, Oregon, of natural causes. He was born July 20,1946, in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Mary Ross and Joseph H. Shepard, M.D. He was a 1964 graduate of the Columbus Academy, of Colgate University in 1968 and The Ohio State University College of Law in 1971. He was a devoted father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend to countless others. Ross was engaged to be married on November 27, 2013 to the first love of his life and fiance, Peggy Lazarus. Ross began his law career as a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) lawyer at Lane County Legal Aid in 1971. He then started a private law practice where he provided legal services to individuals and organizations. In 1977, Ross was a founder of the Lane County Public Defender Office in Eugene to provide criminal defense for indigent clients. Under his leadership, the office grew to become one of the largest law firms in Lane County and was recognized by the US Department of Justice as a model Public Defender organization. Ross was a founding member of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) in 1979. He served as president in the late 1980's and as a legislative representative for the association. In 2004, he left his role as Public Defender in Eugene to join the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) as the director of defender legal services. He continued his legal work as a consultant and Senior Associate for the Spangenberg Group, providing assistance to Public Defender organizations throughout the country. Following retirement, Ross continued to lobby for indigent defense, volunteering his time and expertise for the rights of all people entitled to legal assistance. He had a life-long passion for rugby since joining The Ohio State University Rugby Club during his law school years. In Oregon, he was a founder of the Eugene Rugby Club. He was an accomplished gardener, avid reader, and world traveler. He had a deep appreciation for art, was recognized Olympic-style weight lifter and had a vast collection of vintage books that filled the shelves in his home. In 2003, Ross became a dedicated, active member of the Eugene Masonic Lodge #2777. Among his many contributions to the lodge was cultivating the rose garden. Ross was preceded in death by his parents Mary Ross and Joseph H. Shepard M.D., his brother Joseph H. Shepard Jr., and sister- in- law Mary Ann Shepard. He is survived by his beloved fiance, Peggy Lazarus, Columbus, Ohio; son, Adam (Rebecca) and granddaughter, Ella, Eugene, Oregon; son, Reid (Tana) and step- grandsons, Justin and Kai, Eugene, Oregon; their mother, Betsy Shepard, Eugene, Oregon; sister, Susie (Ed) Carr, Columbus, Ohio; niece, Mary Elizabeth (Paul Doucette, Brunswick, Georgia; nephews, Joseph H. "Brook" Shepard III, Portland, Oregon; Brian (Katie) Shepard Columbus, Ohio, Chris (Abby) Zimmerman, Columbus, Ohio. A memorial service will be held in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Shedd Institute with an additional service to follow in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 11 a.m. at Broad Street Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) in Eugene or The Columbus Academy.

Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25, 2013