Obituary: William “Bill” Brown Shepard, Jr., 71, of Darien, CT and Naples, FL

William “Bill” Brown Shepard, Jr.
William “Bill” Brown Shepard, Jr.

William “Bill” Brown Shepard, Jr., 71, of Darien, CT and Naples, FL passed away suddenly on Tuesday, May 29th surrounded by his loved ones after complications from immunotherapy treatment for recently diagnosed metastatic melanoma.

Bill was born in Summit, New Jersey to William and Mary Shepard. He graduated from The Pingry School and Wesleyan University where he had a long high school and college swimming career. He passed on a deep love of competitive and recreational swimming to his children and grandchildren, and any Shepard family vacation always included being on the water.

It was during college where he met his loving wife of 49 years, Midge, who came back the night they met and said to her friends “this is the first man I could consider marrying.” After college they were married before Bill served a year in Vietnam as an officer stationed at a riverboat base. He returned home safely as a decorated Navy Vietnam combat veteran.

He then received his MBA from Columbia Business School and went on to have a fascinating international banking career that brought him and his family around the world. During his 40 year career he embraced many cultures throughout Asia and the Middle East. He started at Manufacturers Hanover in New York City and later transferred with his family to Tokyo, Japan. They returned to the US where he worked at Irving Trust Bank before another international assignment in Saudi Arabia at National Commercial Bank. He later returned and worked at Gulf International Bank in New York City. He concluded his career in Houston as the head of US operations for Riyad Bank and retired in 2014.

Bill’s greatest pride and joy was his family and his life revolved around them. He was immensely proud of the adults his children have become. He adored his five grandchildren.

He led a life of great joy and enthusiasm and found so many pleasures in living his life fully. He enjoyed boating, gardening (and then frequently moving each plant in his garden to find its perfect spot, much to the amusement of his family), attending sporting events for his children and grandchildren, reading about history and countless other topics, being active in his church and volunteer communities, and observing shore life on the beach in Naples. He was very active right until his passing and cherished his daily swims, bike rides, and beach walks with Midge.

Bill was a shining light of love, positive attitude, gratitude and optimism that was contagious and will be sorely missed. He recognized every day the many blessings he had in his life, including being the friend of many wonderful people. His outgoing and uplifting personality gave him a unique ability to connect with and touch people from all walks of life. He loved meeting people and to him strangers were just friends he hadn’t met yet.

He also found deep personal satisfaction and enjoyment in helping others, especially sponsoring, mentoring, and supporting those with substance abuse addiction, and volunteering in countless other ways. He was particularly proud of his most recent volunteer role in Naples, FL where he worked with troubled youth at New Beginnings, a remarkable military influenced education program.

Bill was an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien, CT and Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church in Naples, FL. He was a member of the Country Club of Darien and the Darien Boat Club.

A proud husband, father, and grandfather who will be missed beyond belief, he is survived by his wife, Midge, and their three children, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren: Trip and Tracy Shepard (Grace, Conor, Eric) of Darien, CT; Jay and Courtney Shepard (Jay and Blake) of Litchfield, CT; and Susan Shepard of New York, NY. He also leaves behind two brothers, Dick Shepard of Holland, MI and David Shepard of Kingston, MA.

A memorial service will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien, CT on Saturday, June 9th at 4:30pm. There will be another memorial service at Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church in Naples, FL in the fall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider donating in Bill’s name to St. Luke’s Parish, 1864 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820, https://www.saintlukesdarien.org/give-online; or New Beginnings Naples (care of Captain Peltz), 3710 Estey Avenue, Naples, FL 34104, http://www.collierschools.com/domain/202.