Earl Shepherd died peacefully on March 29, 2019 at Sunrise of Vancouver. Born January 20, 1929 in Winnipeg MB, he was predeceased by his beloved wife of 62 years, Anne, in October 2014. He is survived by his children John (Verna), Cathy, Heather (Don), and Nancy (Joseph) as well as his 10 beloved grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Eleanor Best and 3 nieces.
Born at the onset of the Great Depression, Earl was imbued with a drive to succeed by his parents and he excelled academically and athletically during his high school years, winning both the gold medal for his high school class and the 100-yard dash! Entering United College, now the University of Winnipeg, at age 15 his life was altered for the best when he met Anne Williams with whom he formed a loving partnership that lasted 70 years until her death. He graduated from the University of Manitoba medical school in 1952 and moved to Vancouver to pursue further studies, eventually doing his residency in Pathology. He continued to excel during this period, winning a prestigious Markle Scholarship in 1961 during which he took further training at Louisiana State University (becoming a life long Tigers fan) and worked in Central America for many months.
As his career developed, he worked with many of the great men and women of Pathology and Medicine in BC; his long friendship with the late Dr. Don Rix and his professional relationship with the late Dr. Cam Coady were sources of pride to him. After working for the Federal Government at Shaughnessy Hospital, the family moved to Kamloops in 1968 where he developed particular interests in medical microbiology and medico-legal pathology. During this time, he did volunteer professional work in Western Samoa and Sierra Leona and formed fast friendships with others who did the same.
In 1981 Earl, Anne, and Nancy moved to Chilliwack where he spent the last years of his working career with CJ Coady and Associates and again formed many lasting friendships both professionally and personally. He retired in 1989 but continued to be active in Rotary, being awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship, and other community service organizations. He was proud of his magnificent garden and spent countless hours improving it. In 2002 he and Anne moved to Vancouver so they could spend more time on their love of music, particularly opera. They travelled extensively during retirement and he made trips to Ethiopia, the Silk Road and Tibet after Anne was unable to travel—he was immensely proud of climbing the steps to the Potala Palace in his 80s.
Family was important to Earl and Anne and they were the kind of parents who always supported and contributed to the activities of their children with their time and money. Every one of his children has wonderful memories of him as a coach, umpire, travel companion, and community leader—these memories are his greatest legacy to us. They were similarly generous in their support of many community and educational organizations both locally and internationally.
In their latter years, Anne and Earl lived at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk where the caring staff provided both of them with support allowing independent living for a number of years. Following Anne’s death, Tess Aquilario supported Earl for over 4 years with warm and comforting care allowing him to stay at Tapestry into his 90th year. For the last 11 months of his life Earl was fortunate to be under the care of the loving and compassionate staff at Sunrise of Vancouver—each and every one of them was kind to him and genuinely interested in his well-being. We are profoundly grateful to all of them.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 1:30 PM at the UBC Golf Club in Vancouver; in lieu of flowers, donations to the Vancouver Opera Association or the University of Winnipeg to the Anne and Earl Shepherd Tuition Credit Bursary Fund are most gratefully appreciated.
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