Neil L. Shepard
CONNEAUTVILLE, PA---Neil Leroy Shepard, 84, of Conneautville, PA, a former longtime resident of Austin, PA, passed away, Monday, July 30, 2012, in his home with his loving family at his side.
Born August 11, 1927 in Falconer, NY, he was a son of Charles T. and Marion Kelley Shepard. On January 8, 1946 in Frederick, Maryland, he married his wife of 65 years, Alvina M. Clinton, who survives.
He attended school in Eldred, PA. Mr. Shepard enlisted as a young teenager in February 1945 in the U.S. Navy. After completing recruit training, he was assigned to CASU-24, Wildwood for additional training. He then served with the Naval Security Group, Balboa, in the Panama Canal Zone in Central America, being honorably discharged in 1947. After working for about ten years in heavy construction, he once again enlisted in the USN. He went through a brief training period and was then assigned to the fleet ocean tug, USS Atakapa. After that stint, he attended deep sea diving school and graduated with honors. He was then transferred to the USS Recovery, a diving and salvage vessel, having a six year tour on that vessel. He then attended leadership and instructor school and was ordered to the large training base in Memphis as an instructor for a period of 2 years. He then had a tour of duty at the Naval support activity Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. He then reported to Assault Craft Unit -2 at Little Creek, VA where he assumed command of LCU-1655 as Commanding Officer. His last tour of duty was as a Naval Recruiter in Bradford, PA for a period of 4 years. He retired from the military service in 1978 as a Chief Petty Officer after a lustrous and successful career.
Mr. Shepard and his wife resided in Austin until 2004 and later moved to Conneautville.
Mr. Shepard attended the Austin Free Methodist Church and also attended the Church of Christ in Conneautville. For many years he was the mayor of Austin and also had been a member and past president of the Austin Borough Council. He was a member of Arcana Lodge #580 F. & A.M. in Austin and a member of the Coudersport Consistory. Mr. Shepard was a deputy warden for the Pennsylvania Boat and Fish Commission. He was a life member of the Austin Volunteer Fire Department where he also served as ambulance chief. He was a member of the VFW Post 7810 in Austin and a member of Potter Post 192 American Legion in Coudersport. He was a member of the Lions Club of Conneautville. Mr. Shepard spent his lifetime volunteering for the good of the communities in which he resided. He loved to tinker.
Surviving besides his wife are five sons, Neil T. (Debbie) Shepard of Port Allegany, Charles D. (Taunya) Shepard of Harmonsburg, Douglas E. Shepard of Conneautville, Larry W. Shepard of Emporium, and George P. (Bobbie) Yatsko of Uniontown; a daughter-in-law, Kim Shepard of Emporium; sixteen grandchildren, George, Chris, Darla, Rodney, Linda, Charlie, Sarah, Kayla, Nick, Ashley, Heather, Brooke, Doug, Lakin, Nathan, and Koby; several great-grandchildren; and two nieces.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Shepard was predeceased by a daughter, Linda L. Yatsko, who died in 2001; and a brother, Eugene Shepard, who died in 1951.
Friends may call on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, 118 South Union Street, Shinglehouse, PA and from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 3, 2012 at the Austin Free Methodist Church, Austin. Funeral services will follow at 1 p.m. in the church with the Rev. Roger D. Laktash, pastor, officiating. Burial will be in Lamphier Cemetery, Eldred.
Members of Arcana Lodge #580 F. & A.M. will conduct a memorial service on Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. in the funeral home.
Members of the Potter County Honor Guard will accord full military honors on Friday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Austin Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance Fund, PO Box 328, Austin, PA 16720.