ForeverMissed
This is the memorial page for George Edward Shepard, Jr. We invite you to view his life and gallery of photos and to post a tribute here on the About page.
Posted by John Spencer on April 15, 2021
Adam, I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. A tremendous loss for many. You are in my thoughts and prayers, brother.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Pops on this website, seeing the pictures of him and his sons, and hearing your stories about him in the video. Adam, his legacy is written all over your life. We are indeed blessed to have fathers who love us, wanted to be part of our lives, wanted to see us grow, and encouraged us to live our best life.

I remember that Pops would even show up to some of the JV basketball games at Southeast Raleigh High, and I remember he would give me tips and would praise me after the game for something I did well. That was pretty special to me, especially consider you were playing on the varsity squad at the time. Pops made me feel important, and inspired me to do better. I would like to remember that as my son and daughter plays sports, so I can be that way for their friends and teammates.

With that said, cheers to our dads, to our friendship, and to our families and future families!
Posted by Surry Roberts on April 4, 2021
George Shepard was one of my longest best and closest friends over a lifetime. I met George on the very first day and evening of Freshman Orientation at UNC in 1958 and we did a number of things together throughout the next four years. I visited with George at Fort Bragg on the day before he left for Vietnam in October of 1967. I was disheartened but finally did get called up after Tet in February 1968 and surprisingly met George outside the PX in Pleiku in II Corps RVN in March or April of 1968. He invited me out to his small camp on the Cambodian border the next Sunday. He was late and came to pick me up sometime after sunset in a Jeep with slit headlights. Then we drove on a dirt track 15 miles in the black of night out to enjoy perhaps the worst pizza but also perhaps the best pizza I have ever had. Driving down the track, George said softly “ don’t worry, this is my country!” I didn’t worry, it was easy to like George Shepard.

Respectfully,
Surry Roberts
Posted by C.c. Yang on April 4, 2021
It's sad to hear the news. A great person. Your memory will live on. Farewell, my friend!
Posted by Nae Waller on March 18, 2021
I didn't know where to begin in typing a tribute for George... with his absence, it only reopened the wound that I had hope would heal from dad's passing. So every time I started, I would begin to cry.

My earliest memories of George, Adam, Erik and Joanie started when I was about 5...even though he literally knew me since birth. We spent many childhood Christmas' with George's family. They would come down, buy our family KFC dinners, bring boxes full of gifts and just spend the night exchanging stories and laughs. He would always entertain me by playing with my stuffed animals, entertain my 100's of questions and laugh at my childish tantrums.

As we grew older, George always kept in touch with our family, even when hey moved states away. We were the greatest of friends. Our parents would talk for hooouurrrsss while we played.

My childhood memories are filled with George's presence and love so it hurts that he is no longer with us.

When we lost our dad, George made sure we had everything we needed because we were his extended family. He hurt like he lost his best friend.

I am so thankful for George's kindness and love. Life in the states would not have been possible had it not been for him. I am so sad you are no longer with us, to watch or guide us in the next stages of life, but I am so glad to have had the opportunity for you to be my second dad. Right now, I imagine you and dad are watching over us with prideful smiles on your faces knowing that we all will be okay.

Love and peace to the family.
Posted by William Lenderking on March 15, 2021
I met George when I arrived in Pleiku, South Vietnam, with the brilliant timing of being just a few days before the 1968 Tet offensive by the Viet Cong. Our tiny band of six or so CORDS civilians (non-military branch of pacification) civilians all survived, but it was close. During that time and for the ensuing year we worked on our various projects and in the evenings got together -- we all were in the same compound, guarded only by an old man with a wispy beard who went home after dark. From this experience I learned that George was fearless but sensible, quick to learn and apply that experience to daily life, a keen judge of human nature, fun company and with a keen sense of humor, 
critical of US policy mistakes but always loyal, and a stalwart of our little band. We all were the better for knowing him. 
Posted by Al Anonymous on March 15, 2021
Rather not leave my name, but an anecdote from George's time as an undergraduate that I will never forget:

George went duck hunting with some ATO brothers down in Maddamaskeet on the Carolina coast one weekend. George left the duck blind to void his bowels off in the distance, and as he was walking back, he turned around, took aim, and blasted the steaming pile with his shotgun.

The brothers said, "George, what the...?"

And George grinned and said, "Just shootin' the shit."
Posted by Justin Ballard on March 13, 2021
I did not know George Shepard well, but I do feel fortunate to have a connection with the Shepard family. If you have ever heard George's son Adam speak about the type of father George was, you'd be remiss not to think about your own father, or your own son. One of my goals as a father is to support my son in the ways that George Shepard supported Adam. If I do that, if every father did that, this world would be a better place. Thank you George.
-Justin 
Posted by Uno Nieeban on March 13, 2021
“Hey Oh No!” Not sure how I got the name, but some of my fondest childhood memories started with this greeting. From swimming at the local YWCA to my very first sand box, your household was there for many of mine’s first. Then there was that one day in Asheboro during the Montagnard celebration when I wore the Duke hat, a moment that brought upon a look of disapproval and stern lecture. I didn’t understand the meaning at that moment, until you explained everything. These are some instances of you taking the time to spend with me. That’s not just friendship. That’s family.

My heart is sad because you’re gone, but I find happiness knowing I had the opportunity to know such an outstanding person. For this, I am thankful. My appreciation for you is indescribable. Along with my dad, your presence brought words of encouragement and a sense of motivation. To do anything. To be challenged. Always.

I’m sure my father has a seat saved for you at the table, waiting with his toothless smile and arms opened wide. Your spirit should find comfort knowing there is a seat saved, amongst family. This thought gives me peace. Love to you, sir. And cheers.
Posted by Barbara Stewart on March 11, 2021
I met George many years ago.
George had a sense of humor like no other. Loved it.
We shared many meals , fun times, adventure stories and just great get together’s.
He was the kindest, brightest, caring and gentlest soul ever.
Our last in person conversation I had the pleasure of telling him what an outstanding man he was and how much I admired about what a kind and caring thing he had done.
We both shed a few tears.
Rest In Peace my friend, I will miss you.
Posted by Nate Hopkins on March 10, 2021
I was too young to remember George but I know how amazing his family is. Anyone that can produce two men such as Adam and Erik must have been one amazing person. I love you all and know he will be missed!
Posted by Joanie Shepard on March 10, 2021
George Shepard was a man of principles. During the 25 short years I shared with him, he provided a stable home and oh so many wonderful adventures! He had a wonderful quick-witted sense of humor.

Early in our marriage we moved to a place at the end of a canyon in SW Colorado called Cabezon Canyon. His plans never materialized during our 15 months there. However, we enjoyed cross country skiing during the time we were there and a five day backpack trip over the Continental Divide with friends who came to visit. The trip ended with a dip in the hot springs near the end of the trail.

Soon we settled in Greensboro, NC where we were blessed with two wonderful baby boys. Not giving up on adventures, we again went backpacking in SW Colorado on a different trail over the Continental Divide. Only this time we had llamas to load while we carried our babies. We were a motley group of five adults, three babies, and two dogs. The mommies and daddies carried the babies, diapers, and baby snacks. It didn't hail one of the days. Adam was nine months old and I was five months pregnant with Erik. This was the most fun trip I ever took in my life, thanks to yet another one of George's adventurous plans❣

A couple of years later, we went skydiving, and as Adam and Erik grew to three and four years old we took them to a favorite spot in Virginia's Jefferson National Forest, Devil's Marble Yard. Adam and Erik carried their own packs with diapers, underwear, and a change of clothes. We did go to other places like Mount Rogers. But over the years we returned to Devil's Marble Yard many times! Adam and Erik returned on their own many times with their friends. Erik proposed to his lovely bride at the top of the mountain after he finished his Marine experience.

We enjoyed all of these experiences because of George's Adventurous Spirit.
And as Adam and Erik began to play sports George was right there to guide them with their skills and sometimes coach their teams.

It was no secret that George Shepard was an adventurer, a loving father, A Remarkable Man whom we all loved to his end. Bless you George. I am going to miss you❣
Posted by Timmy Mac on March 10, 2021
I very briefly met George in person. Unfortunately, I only really got to know him through his son's stories. But the fact that they wanted me to know their dad is an honor. And I didn't have to know him extensively to know who he was. That information is found within his sons. Their thirst for knowledge and life tells me all I need to know about George Shepard. One day when my own son asks for a new pair of sneakers, I'll let him borrow our lawn mower.
Posted by Mária Mravíkova on March 9, 2021
Drahý George,
Toto bolo naše prvé stretnutie. Spojili nás naše deti Adam a Ivana. Uz pri tomto stretnutí som cítila tvoju charizmu a vzajomné sympatie.Bohužial dozvedela som sa, že posledné stretnutie som zmeškala. S láskou budem spomínať na naše soboty s Bingom, na tvoju láskavú tvár a dobré srdce. Navždy zostaneš v mojom srdci. Odpočívaj v pokoji.

Dear George,
This was our first meeting. Our children Adam and Ivana brought us together. Already during this meeting, I felt your charisma and mutual sympathy. Unfortunately, I learned that I missed our last meeting.
I will fondly remember our Saturdays with Bingo, your loving face and good heart. You will remain in my heart forever. Rest in peace.
Posted by Anthony Hanson on March 9, 2021
I knew George as Mr. Shepard, well actually as "Adam's dad." We sat together during many of Adam's basketball games at the Chavis League in Raleigh. I always enjoyed chatting with him during those games because he only wanted to talk about three things: basketball, Adam, and me. He did not feel the need to talk about himself but rather just enjoyed watching the games and listening to me. He knew the game, he knew Adam's game (good and bad) and he was genuinely curious about what I was up to in life as well. He was very kind, soft-spoken and it was always clear that he loved Adam very much. We would have basketball tournaments in Wilmington as well, and sure enough Adam's dad was there too. I always think the best thing a great dad can do is to just show up. Seems simple, but often it is not. Adam's dad definitely showed up!

-Tony Hanson
Posted by Surry Roberts on March 8, 2021
George and I met on our very first day at UNC and will remain close into eternity. He invited me out to his camp in Vietnam on the border where we had pizza. He came in a Jeep to pick me up at sundown and we drove out ten miles through the jungle for the "best" pizza I've ever had. That was George! I surely miss him!

Cheers,
Surry Roberts
Posted by Bob Jolls on March 8, 2021
George was a close friend for many years.  We were very compatible and very fond of each other. George was always fun to talk and reminisce together.  I'll miss him dearly.
Posted by Lionel Rosenblatt on March 8, 2021

Over our 54 years of friendship, whenever George and I intersected, I knew that it would leave me feeling happier for the encounter.

We first met at the Vietnam Training Center (VTC) in 1967 before shipping out to Vietnam in the CORDS program. which aimed to "win hearts and minds" in the Vietnam War.

Those enrolled at the Center prior to being posted to a CORDS assignment in Vietnam were an interesting mixture of military and civilian personnel. Some of the civilians were pretty young. I was 23 when entered training and George seemed to me wiser and more seasoned at about 27. He had a particular knack for learning from the ex-military in training with us who already had a tour or more under their belts in Vietnam. George got them to enjoy a mentoring role, always armed with his disarming good, ole boy smile and humor.

After the first weeks, the larger group in our class were sent off to postings in Vietnam. George and I and a few others were left to study Vietnamese language for up to ten more months, a prospect which seemed to us then to be interminable and boring.

So we began to cope in the ten-minute breaks between each hour of study with games, especially pitching quarters against the hall walls. George would rope us into playing and would lose a couple of rounds early, but by the end of the day, almost always came up winning, hence his training center code name: "The Flim-Flam Man."

In the autumn of 1967, the U.S. Senate urged the State Department to send refugee experts to south Vietnam to cope with the increasing number of civilians being displaced by the war. George and I were not surprised to be among those first curtailed and sent to Vietnam.

George was sent to work in Pleiku province in the central highlands where the Montagnard peoples were our major allies. This transformed George's life, as he saw the loyal, brave service of the Montagnards often ignored by the U.S. and south Vietnamese military. George developed deep friendships with some Montagnards and with a few dedicated south Vietnamese officials and acted on their behalf with courage and conviction.

But ultimately, we both recognized that senior U.S. civilian and military officials didn't really focus much on the mountain people or other vulnerable civilians and we left Vietnam frustrated about this.

George went on to re-invent himself in many different incarnations, but we always stayed in touch and got closer with age.

He was so proud of his boys Adam and Erik to and so close to Sharon who was there for him right until the end, despite her own major health challenges.

Posted by Arthur Finn on March 7, 2021
To know George was to be lucky. Knowing him as well as I got to know him over the past ten years or so, and particularly during the entire final illness, was more like hitting the jackpot. He was as decent and kind a person as anyone I have ever known, and one who simply radiated warmth and love. I will not forget our almost daily face-time talks, our -- not particularly healthy, but certainly delicious -- frequent lunches of barbecued ribs at the Q-Shack (even during the pandemic, because we had our own personal two-man bubble), and our many wonderful discussions. I will always wonder how he tolerated me!
Posted by Kara Leggett on March 7, 2021
I have been blessed to know Pops through my husband’s life long friendship with Adam. Forever hearing stories from Adam and Matt of the exciting life of Pops and the wisdom he shared with the people he loved. He was an amazing father who raised a supreme son. In fact, we named our son Shepard after Adam because he is the type of guy you want to surround yourself with. Pops you will be dearly missed but never forgotten!!
Posted by Karla McPherson on March 7, 2021
George was a true southern gentleman. A really smart and gentle man who enriched our lives during the more than 9 years that we were able to count him among our best friends. We loved hearing his stories about cowboy days and old Chapel Hill, sharing meals, and watching Tarheel basketball. We are deeply saddened by his death but better for having known him. He was a really good man and everyone liked him. I don’t think there is a better thing that an be said of someone at the end of his life. His was a life well-lived. We will miss him.
Posted by Scott Cahoon on March 7, 2021
I was sad to hear the news, but my life has been enriched by knowing George. With George, there was no "correct" way to do anything. He advised me to just follow my passion, my own journey per se, and to treat all people with respect. I was and still am proud to call George my friend. He was such a source of peace and strength to me. His encouraging words helped me through some difficult times. Most of all, I have the honor to call Adam, Erik and Ivana my friends. I love and appreciate you guys and grieve with you in your loss.
Posted by Korey Banks on March 7, 2021
Most of the time that I knew him, George Shepard was “Pops” to me. From chatting after or during high school basketball games to adult league hoop games to back yard chats on the patio, he was always engaging, welcoming, genuine, and present with a good joke, story, anecdote, or piece of solid advice. I sometimes felt as if he were my own pops. His spirit, sense of adventure, welcoming heart, and proclivity for a little trouble and risk certainly live on in his sons. Pops set a fantastic example of fatherhood and love. I’m thankful to have had an opportunity to know pops and hope to be the type of man he was.
Posted by Ivana Shepard on March 7, 2021
The moment I met George nine years ago, I was instantly drawn to his loving, humble, and somewhat mischievous persona. I quickly learned where my husband Adam gets his wit, and, undoubtedly, the charming looks. My favorite time, while still living in North Carolina, was spent in George and Sharon’s company on a Saturday afternoon discussing recent events, telling stories, and sipping on cheap wine. Anyone who knew George, at one point or another witnessed his genuine support for his family and friends. I recall seeing the father-like pride on George’s face as I walked across the stage when I received my Master’s degree. He loved celebrating your victories, and he always had a piece of wisdom to share when things were not going so great. You are forever in my heart, George Shepard, and there’s no real eloquence to it other than that I will miss you so much.
Posted by Adam Shepard on March 7, 2021
It's funny that--at 81 years old, just like when he was 55--he was always the first phone call I made with big news or just to chat. Your memory will live on forever, Pops. I will be a dad just like you.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by John Spencer on April 15, 2021
Adam, I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. A tremendous loss for many. You are in my thoughts and prayers, brother.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Pops on this website, seeing the pictures of him and his sons, and hearing your stories about him in the video. Adam, his legacy is written all over your life. We are indeed blessed to have fathers who love us, wanted to be part of our lives, wanted to see us grow, and encouraged us to live our best life.

I remember that Pops would even show up to some of the JV basketball games at Southeast Raleigh High, and I remember he would give me tips and would praise me after the game for something I did well. That was pretty special to me, especially consider you were playing on the varsity squad at the time. Pops made me feel important, and inspired me to do better. I would like to remember that as my son and daughter plays sports, so I can be that way for their friends and teammates.

With that said, cheers to our dads, to our friendship, and to our families and future families!
Posted by Surry Roberts on April 4, 2021
George Shepard was one of my longest best and closest friends over a lifetime. I met George on the very first day and evening of Freshman Orientation at UNC in 1958 and we did a number of things together throughout the next four years. I visited with George at Fort Bragg on the day before he left for Vietnam in October of 1967. I was disheartened but finally did get called up after Tet in February 1968 and surprisingly met George outside the PX in Pleiku in II Corps RVN in March or April of 1968. He invited me out to his small camp on the Cambodian border the next Sunday. He was late and came to pick me up sometime after sunset in a Jeep with slit headlights. Then we drove on a dirt track 15 miles in the black of night out to enjoy perhaps the worst pizza but also perhaps the best pizza I have ever had. Driving down the track, George said softly “ don’t worry, this is my country!” I didn’t worry, it was easy to like George Shepard.

Respectfully,
Surry Roberts
Posted by C.c. Yang on April 4, 2021
It's sad to hear the news. A great person. Your memory will live on. Farewell, my friend!
his Life
George Edward Shepard, Jr. of Chapel Hill passed away Monday evening after having previously courageously fought through and survived a full two pages worth of maladies, single-spaced, 12-point font. Over these last 7 or 8 years, his doctors would often enter the room with an x-ray or a vascular ultrasound in hand, a grin across their lips, and a perplexed gaze in their eyes, as if to say, “How in the hell are you still standing on this side of the ground?”

He grinded hard, and he lived fully.

He was predeceased by his sister Carolyn Chisholm of Asheboro, and he is survived by his lovely and loving wife Sharon Sullivan Mújica; stepchildren Marco and Samantha Marquez of Chula Vista, California and Jeff and Tanya Mújica Keenan of Hoboken, New Jersey; step-grandchildren Elle and Sofia; son and daughter-in-law Erik and Laura Shepard; son and daughter-in-law Adam and Ivana Shepard; and cat Bela.

He died in the very same way in which he lived his 81 years: telling stories to the people he adored and displaying the quick wit that made his company so intoxicating.

George was born on October 3, 1939. He was the son of Bo Shepard--UNC professor, associate dean of the general college, and coach of the basketball team from 1932-1936--and the nephew of Norman Shepard, who coached UNC to an undefeated 26-0 and a national championship in 1924.

George was educated in Chapel Hill and at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia. At Darlington, he spent some time studying the books and some time running the books, offering bets on anything from Alabama football games to when the pregnant Professor Stukes would go into labor. He went on to receive his undergraduate degree at UNC over two two-year spurts with a two-year break in between to join the Army. He pledged--and he maintained a lifelong connection to--ATO. He took seven semesters to pass four semesters of Spanish. Not long before graduating, Chancellor Robert House walked by him sitting on a bench with a date and said, “Young lady, I want you to know that George here will shortly be entering the real world with an untired mind.”

As a child, he enjoyed fishing, reading, camping, locating mischief, and napping, and he continued to sharpen those skills throughout adulthood.

He attended law school long enough to complete one full intramural softball season before pivoting to earn his MBA at George Washington. He walked across the stage and promptly set his newly-minted degree to the side with the wide eyes of a dude who didn’t want to miss a thing. He ran operations as the head of an 8-man team for 22 months and 18 days in Vietnam, developing steadfast relationships that he has now taken with him to his grave. He was the cook on a crew that delivered a sailboat from New England to the Bahamas. He spent a winter skiing in Aspen and a summer cowboying in Wyoming, and then he rinsed and repeated that cycle for a few more years between Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Durango. Life with his then-wife Joanie and a couple of sons brought him back from the west. In real estate, he was an instrumental player in the early evolution of Beech Mountain, he worked for McCoy Development, and he did a few years’ worth of deals partnered with Billy Armfield, Don McMillion, and Bob Eubanks in the Piedmont area. He worked among the administrative team at Tonyan Brothers Trucking in Illinois, and he finished his career as an economic developer in the Southeast Asia division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. 

He gave of himself. He served at the soup kitchen, he volunteered with the Blue Ribbon Mentor Program, and his most prized possession was an award he received from the Ministry of Ethnic Minorities for his intense devotion to the causes of the Vietnamese Montagnard refugees with whom he had battled alongside. 

George Shepard never became the magnate that he perhaps could have been, and his professional career is a footnote that can be defined as him having done whatever needed to be done in order for him to cover that month’s mortgage payment and thenceforth afford to spend as much time as possible with his friends and family. His life can be defined by his dedication to the people he loved. The greatest statistic of George Shepard’s life is this: he missed a combined total of three of his children’s athletic and school events over the span of the thirteen years that they progressed from Kiddie Kickers to college. That is a truly remarkable accomplishment. He was always home for dinner, and he cherished a weekend jaunt to the beach or the mountains with whoever wanted to grab an overnight bag and hop in the car. He cheered and supported his children in their various endeavors, he guided them, he listened to them, and he served as the hero that every dad should be. 

Win or lose, each moment of his life can be defined by his integrity and his accountability. Telling the truth and striking a fair deal were of paramount importance to him. And he always owned his successes as well as his failures. 

George Shepard was generous, and George Shepard was a cheapskate. If he was down to his last fifty dollars, he’d give you the full bounty if you needed it, and he likewise saw no reason to own two pairs of pants when the one pair he presently owned had only three holes and not four. 

He was the guy you walked over to if you saw him at a cocktail party. His eyes lit up as he relayed the narratives of his days cowboying in Wyoming or fighting (and smoking all of the grass he could get his hands on) in Vietnam, and he loved hearing about whatever you happened to have going on in your life at that particular moment. He was as quick to laugh as he was to quip. His sincerity was unrivaled, and his sense of humor kept you at his side past your bedtime. You always parted ways looking forward to your next rendezvous with him.

Perhaps most exciting for him was, at age 60, reconnecting with Sharon Sullivan Mújica who he grew up with and even dated when they were 15.  George and Sharon were compatible in almost every way and had a multitude of friends.  They worked together for the Blue Ribbon Mentor Program with 2 young Latino youths with whom they are still friends. George learned more Spanish in his later years than he ever did in school.  They actively supported NC Democratic candidates for office, were involved and jailed during Moral Monday, participated in seminars at UNC and Duke, and enjoyed traveling to other countries, especially Mexico. 

And so we say farewell to a man who we all loved so much, and we say farewell with the understanding that there is a gap in the world that each of us must now work to fill. 

George Shepard: husband, dad, friend. We miss you terribly, and we will often recall the legacy you are leaving. 

George would quickly forget to water the flowers you plan on sending, so instead, he would no doubt be honored if you would send a contribution in his name to one of two places: 

--TROSA, 1820 James Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707
--Montagnard Dega Association, 611 Summit Avenue, Suite 10, Greensboro, North Carolina 27405. 

A playlist of songs with which to remember George can be found on Spotify here
Recent stories

Cabezon Canyon

Shared by Terry Reeves on March 10, 2021
Surry Roberts and I visited Cabezon Canyon on Easter with our cross country skis. After lunch we laced up to ski the ridge line above that cabin. We suddenly realized that George had no intention of going instead volunteer to clean the house a bit. We found out quick enough that Joanie was an excellent skier and that we were not skilled enough to avoid the pine straw. The lesson is to tackle the chores first Adam.
We also a short time later we’re back In Colorado to trek the continental divide from Wolf Creek pass, along with two llamas, a pair of mamas, two babies(Adam), couple of papas, and Surry and I.
George carries Adam through rain and hail while Adam acquired calluses on chin.I learned to camp far from Adam as he slept all day and played at night.
Adam the lesson is to take your first born trekking on continental divide before the age of 6 months. All George Sheperadventures to be sure!

Remembering George

Shared by Kathleen Dorwin on March 7, 2021
This video was taken on March 5th, 2021 at the home of George and Sharon. Adam and Ivana had purchased a fine collection of wines ( ranging from 2 buck Chuck to some truly fine wines). Here Adam presents each wine along with the connection each wine has to George. Adam shares a few anecdotes