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Benjamin Sheppard


1943 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Benjamin Sheppard Obituary
Benjamin H. Sheppard, Jr.
1943-2017
Ben Sheppard died on Saturday, the 4th of March 2017, at home in Houston, Texas at the age of 74. Ben was born on the 18th of January 1943, in Amarillo, Texas, to Elizabeth Fly Sheppard and Benjamin H. Sheppard, Sr. Ben grew up in Denton, Texas, and graduated from Denton High School in 1961. Ben always described his childhood as "idyllic."
To pay his way through college, Ben organized and supervised sales crews of other college students for the Southwestern Publishing Company, selling books door to door in Virginia and West Virginia. Ben was a star debater winning competitions at the national level. Ben and his future wife Valerie were members of the college debate team where they fell in love. Ben and Valerie married on the 30th of January 1965.
Ben attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he was a member of the Texas Law Review and the Order of the Coif, and he graduated with high honors in 1968.
After serving as a law clerk for Justice Homer Thornberry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Ben and Valerie moved to Houston, which has been home ever since. Ben joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins. By then, Ben and Val's family had grown with two children, Paul and Suzanne.
Ben practiced at Vinson & Elkins LLP from 1969 to 2005, and was partner and co-chair of the firm's international dispute resolution practice focusing on litigation and arbitration. Since 2005, Ben served as a distinguished lecturer at the University of Houston Law Center and the director of the AA White Dispute Resolution Center. Additionally, Ben served on commercial, energy, oil and gas, and international arbitration panels, chaired the disputes committee of the American Bar Association, and authored reports and recommendations for ABA working groups. He was honored as a fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, he co-edited Take the Witness: Cross-Examination in International Arbitration, and he co-edited annually The AAA Yearbook on Arbitration & the Law. Ben achieved this enormous success with characteristic modesty.
It was a busy life, but Ben and Valerie found great joy in spending time with their children, sailing in the Carribean, camping throughout the United States, enjoying Houston's fine arts, and seeing the world. Ben was an avid reader, an accomplished sailor, a teller of corny jokes, an enthusiastic bridge player, and an unbeatable Parcheesi player. Ben will be remembered for his friendly nature and his generosity. Ben's life was enriched by his grandchildren, Jacob, Toby, and Katie, whom he adored, and who loved him as their very own Buba.
Ben was preceded in death by his mother Elizabeth Fly Sheppard Hogg, his father Benjamin H. Sheppard, Sr., and his brother Philip Wolfram.
Ben is survived by his wife, of 52 years, Valerie Sheppard; his son, Paul Sheppard and his wife, Joanne Sheppard and their, daughter Katie, of London England; and his daughter, Suzanne Funk-Sheppard and her husband, Malte Funk-Sheppard and their children, Jacob and Toby of Sugar Land, Texas; his brother, Walter Wolfram of Amarillo, Texas; and his brother, David Sheppard of Austin, Texas.
A Celebration of Life will be held at three o'clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, the 8th of March, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the nearby grand foyer.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Mar. 6 to Mar. 7, 2017
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