James L. Shepherd
James L. Shepherd, resident of Fountain Hills, Arizona, gently passed away in his sleep at Fountain View Village after a short battle against melanoma. He was highly regarded by many and was an active member in The Men’s Club, Kiwanis, VFW, American Legion and Home Delivered Meals. Jim always strived to make life a better place for those he knew and the strangers that he may have helped.
Jim’s life began in Craig, Colorado on February 25, 1923. He was the eldest of four sons born to Mark and Elda Shepherd. During Jim’s younger years, he was active in DeMolay and Boy Scouts, achieving the Eagle Scout rank at age 18, an honor held by Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, Bill Gates and many others.
After attending Mesa Jr. College and University of Colorado, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and embarked to the South Seas on his 21st birthday. He served during WWII in Saipan, Okinawa, and China. His story can be read in the 2009 Edition of “Since You Asked”. He was especially proud of being a China Marine, organizing the first reunion in 1976 of his company, which soon became an annual event at different locations in the U.S.
For many years, Jim attended the Marine Corps Birthday on November 10th held at the Arizona Country Club and was recently recognized during this event as the oldest living China Marine in the area.
After his honorable discharge in 1946, Jim married Marie Sandberg of California and returned to Craig, Colorado to raise their family. Jim joined his brothers, Bob, Albert and John Shepherd, to work in his father’s plumbing and heating business, Shepherd & Sons Plumbing and Heating. He eventually became President of the company and was proud to represent it as the oldest family owned business west of the Mississippi River since it was originally founded in 1924.
Jim joined Kiwanis in Craig and continued to be active in the organization after his move to Fountain Hills. In 1953, Jim became Lieutenant Governor of Kiwanis in the State of Colorado. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, reaching the 33rd degree. He was later invited to become a Shriner in Northwest Colorado. He organized the Shriner’s golf tournament for over 10 years to help with fundraising efforts for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, CA. He received the “Shriner of the Year Award” in 2005. He was appointed by Colorado State Governor Roy Romer to the State Examining Board of Plumbers and served from 1985 to 1993. In 1961, he was elected the first board president of the Yampa Valley Golf Association in Craig and played a key role in the development and opening of the Yampa Valley Golf Course. His recreational interests included playing poker and going fishing and hunting; however, golf became his main passion, normally scoring below his age in his 80’s and 90’s. During his years as a golfer, Jim achieved three holes in one. He had continued to play golf at least twice weekly while living in the Fountain Hills, AZ community with The Men’s Club.
Jim and Marie purchased a home in Fountain Hills as snowbirds in 1999, but after Marie’s death, Jim became a full time resident in 2002. Soon after, he was fortunate to find his “second” love in Jan Lawrence who remained by his side at the time of his death.
He is survived by 3 children, Steve (Bev), Claudia, and Marty (Darlene) and 4 grandchildren, Jennifer, Geoffrey, Jimmy and Tammy along with 4 great grandchildren and two brothers, John and Albert Shepherd.
Services will be held at the Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church, 13001 Fountain Hills Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity in remembrance of Jim. In Jim’s memory, Sage Hospice will be planting 10 trees as a perpetual living remembrance in a forest being replanted due to destruction by fire.
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