Robert Glenn Sheppard was born November 6, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He married Eda Jean Lippitt June 28, 1945. "Shep" as he has always been known in Smith Center, was always Glenn to his family. He was the youngest son of seven children born to Charles Thomas and Bessie Sheppard. He spent most of his grade school years in Spring City, Missouri near Joplin, Missouri helping with the family's dairy and attending country school until fifth grade. His family then moved to Joplin where he completed high school when he was sixteen years old.
Shep graduated from Joplin Junior College, currently known as Southwest Missouri College. He completed his education at the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas School of Medicine. The week of June 28th 1945, he graduated from medical school, got married and entered the Navy for an internship in Farragut, Idaho. In 1946, he was sent by the US Navy to Micronesia where he cared for the natives on the islands of Ponape, Palau and Koror. It was an amazing adventure doing surgery from a book and having Penicillin to treat the diseases of the people for the first time. It was this experience that led him to become a general surgeon; he often compared his isolation in Smith Center from other surgeons, to the way he had felt on the islands. He returned to start his general surgery residency at St. Luke's hospital in Kansas City. In 1951, he and "Edee" made the fateful decision to move to Smith Center to work in their new hospital. Shep always gave Edee a lot of credit for this decision as she wanted to raise her family in a small town. He formed what later became the Smith Center Medical Group. This group went on to practice together for thirty-four years. He worked as both a general surgeon and a general practitioner. He also travelled to perform surgery in Phillipsburg, Kansas and Alma, Kansas. Shep and his partners spent long hours working together. He considered his partners his brothers, especially Lafe Bauer, Hugh Woods and Dennis Hardman. In 1983 he was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of Southwest Missouri College for his many contributions to the college. He was a member of the American College of Surgeons.
Debbie was born while Shep was in his Navy tour of duty, though he made it back briefly for her birth. Mike was born while Shep was a resident at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and Dave became the first Jayhawk in the family when he was born in Smith Center, Kansas. Shep was always known for his gifted hands. His stained glass lamps and window hangings were the envy of many skilled glass artisians. He also did amazing woodwork, creating furniture and a variety of things. His loved golf and passed that passion on to Dave and two of his grandsons.
One of Shep's favorite hobbies was flying. He flew the family to a variety of places and many a great adventure was experienced. He flew to Mexico for some memorable fishing expeditions with his flying buddies, Star Barron and Marion Morgan. His other love was singing and all his children remember going to sleep listening to the Four Chorders sing at quartet practices with Vern Overmiller, Art Tucker and Ray Boyer.
He loved life and showed that enthusiasm by planning wonderful family vacations. In his own words, "As soon as one vacation was done, I would start planning the next." There were two getaway spots that he claimed added years to his life as the perfect de-stressors for a busy surgeon. Many summers were spent at Riley's Ranch on the Colorado Frying Pan river where he learned to trout fish from Bruce Riley. The other refuge was the one room cabin near Gaylord on the Solomon River that had no phone. He always said that he thought he could have been a pretty good teacher. He loved to teach his kids everything from drawing the latest surgery technique he'd learned, to how to make a tree swing from a laundry bag filled with rags.
The great love of his life was Edee, his wife of sixty-seven years. As his high school sweetheart, she taught the country boy to dance, and she was always there to cook a wonderful meal for him and help with whatever he needed at any hour of the day or night. After his retirement they enjoyed the freedom to travel anywhere, anytime; cruises in Greece, the Caribbean, and Alaska. They also traveled the Lewis and Clark trail as it was a one of Edee's favorite history destinations. In later years they took the local bus trips to Branson and enjoyed taking his four sisters to Texas to visit relatives. They both considered the condominium in Snowmass, Colorado to be their "home away from home".
His grandchildren were always a source of pride, joy and shananigans. It was never apparent whether the grandchildren or Grandpa instigated them, but the rest of the family has a pretty good idea! They can all recite "grandpa stories" and sayings that go on forever.
He remained very active and read voraciously as his friends in the local library know even after the Parkinson's tremor kept him from doing his stained glass and woodworking. Saturday evenings you could always find Shep and Edee watching Lawrence Welk reruns with Edee doing a little two step to the music and Shep with that smile creeping into his face saying, "She hasn't lost her touch." He could always coax her to a dance.
Shep died on November 24, 2012 with family at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and three sisters. He is survived by his wife, Eda Jean of the home; his sister Maxine Bowman from Lawrence, KS; daughter Debra Sue (Demetre) Evangilidis of Smith Center, Kansas; son Robert Michael (Margie) of Great Bend, Kansas; son David Dean (Marla), son of Hillsboro, Kansas; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by family and friends who will try to live up to his legacy.
Visitation will be from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM with the family present from 6:30 until 8:00 Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the mortuary.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 PM Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at the United Methodist Church in Smith Center, KS with Pastor Laura Fricker officiating.
Burial will follow in the Fairview Cemetery in Smith Center, KS.
The family requests memorial contributions be given to the Smith County Memorial Hospital or Smith County Long Term Care and can be sent in care of the mortuary.
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