Henry J. "Joe" Shepard Jr. died in Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg on Feb. 2, 2013, after a yearlong struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born to Bettye and Henry J. Shepard in Mobile, Ala., on April 26, 1945, Joe attended Catholic schools in Mobile and Bitburg High School in Germany before returning stateside to join the Air Force. He enjoyed a distinguished 20-year military career, most notably as a trainer in the beginning years of military social actions and in his overseas assignments to Greece, Thailand, Turkey and Germany. Upon retirement, he completed his bachelor's degree at Minot State University, actually co-attending with his oldest son, Jason. He started his second career interning as an instructional systems specialist at Fort Gordon, Ga.; moving from there to Fort Eustis, and finally to the Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee where he designed and developed officer and enlisted training for Army Transportation personnel. He retired from civil service in 2006, looking forward to leading his church home group in Bible study, providing a singing ministry to various nursing homes, traveling and spending time with his wife and family, and enjoying a pecan braid and crosswords at Panera's. He loved music, in particular playing guitar and singing with his senior jam group, and stayed active with Sentara's C.A.R.E.S. program and helping his wife in her garden. He also published a collection of poems he had written over a 22-year period, "Gator Pie and Love Songs." Known for his dazzling smile and by his stepdaughter's moniker "JoJo," all who knew him were gifted by the God-given love and generosity that poured forth from his spirit. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; two sons, Jason (Melissa) and Jonas (Nako); two stepchildren, Sean Maisey (Marsha) and Morgan Weston (Matthew); two granddaughters, Martha Jane and Sophie Shepard ; two step-granddaughters, Sammie Maisey and Molly Weston; three step-grandsons, William and Ryan Jones and McEwan Weston; and six siblings, Bill Shepard (Cookie), Fran Clark (Steve), Dawn Fondy, Kim Coogan (Jerry), Joni Fauth (Rod) and Jeannie Hanks. His family greatly thanks all of you who were so faithful, visiting him in two hospitals, at home, and at Hospice House. A memorial service will be held at Williamsburg Community Chapel on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg VA, 23188, www.williamsburghospice.org
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Published in Virginia Gazette from Feb. 13 to Mar. 12, 2013