William Arnett “Bill” Shepherd, 83, finished running his race on November 12, 2017, after a valiant battle with Parkinson’s recently complicated by other health concerns.
He was born along with his twin brother Elvin Garnett on April 8, 1934, in Russell County, Kentucky to William Ray and Ella Bea (Gosser) Shepherd. He married Alma Shepherd on December 30, 1961, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and together for nearly 51 years they built a life of family, fidelity, and friendships, cut short by Alma’s homegoing in 2012.
Known by many names throughout his life, Arnett left his home in Sano, Kentucky, at the age of 16 to seek his fortune, and initially spent time working on a farm in Illinois. He then came to Indiana to learn auto body repair from his older brother and during his trademan’s years would be known as Shep. Private 1st Class Shepherd served during the Korean Conflict as a member of the US Army 6th Armored Division. While remaining stateside, his “war stories” included big adventures while transporting bus-loads of USO entertainers and soldiers in New York City and throughout the east. As a veteran, he became a member of The American Legion, Post 0777.
After an honorable discharge from active duty, Shep would return to Indiana and continue honing his skill as an auto body repairman, first at Shep’s Body Shop with his brothers in Edinburgh, after which he would spend more than 20 years at Graham’s Body Shop in Franklin. In his late 30’s, Bill would begin a new career as an auto body repair instructor with Blue River Career Center in Shelbyville, retiring after 22 years filled with numerous awards and accolades for both his students and himself.
An avid outdoorsman, Bill made many good memories hunting quail and other game, and for several years was an active member at Glenn’s Valley Conservation Club where he both judged and participated in field trials. He was known for his skill at training bird dogs and commemorated his all time favorite English Setter, Jake, with a stone statue in front of his home. Bill and Alma were also known for their hospitality and loved hosting fish-fries at Shepherd Camp on the Ohio River in Hanover, Indiana.
But the event that would eclipse all others would happen to Bill at aged 50, when in accordance with John 3:3 he would cry out to Jesus Christ to be born again. He immediately became a student of the scriptures and an intentional witness who personally led dozens to know the Lord, passing out thousands of “Jesus cards” and copies of the Gospel of John. He became a gifted teacher of the Bible and mentor to new Christians and was ordained as a deacon and an elder in the 1990’s. He and Alma began various nursing home ministries and he became known as Chaplain Bill at Homeview Health Center, ending his service there in 2015. Bill is currently a member of Beech Grove Baptist Church in Trafalgar.
He is survived by his son, William Douglas Shepherd (Lesa) and his daughter, Debra Shepherd Baker (Randy), both of Franklin; his grandchildren Wade Shepherd (Lauran) of Greenwood, William Taylor Baker (Leah) of Franklin, Hope Kuntz (Kyle) of Edinburgh, and Miranda Bernd (Adam), of Georgetown, Indiana; and great-grandsons Aden Bernd and Jace William Kuntz, who Pap lovingly called “Jake”. Arnett is also survived by beloved sisters Altha Flanagan of LeRoy, IL and Frances McDonald of Cincinnati, OH, many nieces and nephews, and a special home-health aide and friend, Vena Allender.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife; a sister Hallie Hammond and brothers Hollis and Garnett Shepherd; and his great-granddaughter, Athena Jay Bernd.
Bill’s children, Doug and Deb, will conduct a celebration of life service on Sunday, November 19th beginning at 2:00pm at Swartz Family Community Mortuary and Memorial Center 300 South U.S. 31 (Morton Street) in Franklin. Visitation will be Saturday, November 18th from 4pm until 8pm, and one hour before the service on Sunday. Memorial contributions may be made to continue the spread of the Gospel through Bible League International, 1 Bible League Plaza, Crete, Illinois 60417, or at www.bibleleague.org.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.swartzmortuary.com.