On May 9, 2016, Donald Eugene Shepard, Age 80, entered the welcoming arms of Our Lord and Savior after a courageous battle with melanoma cancer on the same day he was born, May 9, 1936. Donald was born in Lawrence, KS and is the son of Eugene Rollie and Ethelyn Emma (Frey) Shepard.
Don served his Country in the United States Marine Corp as Sergeant for three years. When Don returned from the Corp, in 1959 he began his career with District 60, which eventually became the Unified School District 497, Lawrence, KS. Don started his career with the school district as a Custodian at West Junior High School. Don’s work ethic, intelligence and his service leadership spirit positioned and prepared him to make history as the First Black Supervisor in the State of Kansas, as the Transportation Supervisor, of the Lawrence School District – #497, and as a member of Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association.
Don retired from the school district in 1974 and started his second career with Farmland Industries, where he worked for 25 years and retired in 1999. Don continued to drive activity buses for the Lawrence School District in excess of 40 years on a part-time basis.
Don was a lifelong resident of Lawrence, KS and was highly committed to serving his community. His mantra was – Kindness a quote by William Penn (1644-1718), “I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there may be any kindness I can show, or any good things I may do to any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
Which leads to his many honors and citations: North Lawrence Improvement Association – For Exceptional Contributions, Woodlawn School PTA – “For Faithful & Loyal Support”, Woodlawn School PTA Co-Presidents, Lawrence USD 497- The Good Apple Award, 1984, Lawrence USD 497 Outstanding Citizen Award for “Outstanding service and dedication to the students and staff of USD 497, 1984-85, Lawrence Kiwanis Club – Substantial Citizen for 1992, Recognition and Appreciation for Community Leadership”, Kansas African American Legislative Caucus Foundation, September, 2000, Douglas County Traffic Advisory Committee, Chairman Lawrence Grant Review Board, Farmland Industries Community Advisory Program, USD 497 Facilities Planning Committee, Two-Terms-Lawrence Traffic Commission, Lawrence Human Relations Commission, Financial Board of St. Luke A.M.E., Steward at St. Luke, A.M.E. and lifelong choir member at St. James A.M.E. and St. Luke A.M.E.
He married Ermal Jean Estelle October 18, 1957 in Lawrence. He endearingly called her his “Bride”. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include his daughter, Julie Dianne Lane and husband, Gilbert H., Kansas City, MO; his son, Charles Eugene Shepard and wife, Lissa, McKinney, TX; five grandchildren, Jessica Colon, Catherine Shepard, Jolie Shepard, Caleb Shepard, Collin Shepard; and one great grandchild, Jordan; one sister, Cleo Jeannette Jackson and husband, Greg, Lenexa, KS; two brothers, Steven Clark Shepard and wife, Ruth, Centennial, CO and William Hays Shepard and wife, Shang, Lawrence; and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James Rollie Shepard; and grandchild, Enrique Antonio Colon, III in 2006.
The family will greet friends from 4 – 6 p.m. Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. Funeral Service will be held on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the historic St. Luke A.M.E. Church, located at 9th & New York.
Memorials may be made in his name to the St. Luke A.M.E. Church and may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.