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Shepherd, Kenneth Laverne

March 7, 1937 –
 December 14, 2021

Obituary

Ken L. Shepherd was born March 7, 1937 in Mason City, Iowa, to Leona Shepherd. Ken passed away and into the presence of Jesus, his Savior, on December 14, 2021 after a difficult year of illness coupled with the late onset of Parkinson’s.

 

Ken grew up in a large family with two brothers and four sisters. He remained close with his siblings throughout the years even when distance separated, making family reunions in Iowa a priority as well as visits, calls and celebrations together. He was loved by all the younger relatives too and many recall the year he dressed as an authentic Santa Claus for a special extended family Christmas get together in Iowa in the late 1960’s. All the kids believed he was Santa until his daughter, Traci, astutely identified her Dad’s watch to put two and two together on the real identity.
He was a Private First Class officer in the Army serving as an Ammunition specialist. He was also a master sharp-shooter and known as the best in his platoon. During his time in the Army, Ken married his high school sweetheart, Mary Peterson, in 1956. They were stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland and then Ken was moved to Paris, France where Mary later joined him departing the U.S. port on the USNS Goethals ship on Christmas Eve 1956 to be reunited with her love overseas. Shortly after his military service, Ken attended and graduated from Iowa Tech to start his career in electrical engineering. He and Mary started a family with Wayne born in 1959, Traci in 1961 and Scott would soon follow 11 months later in 1962. Ken and Mary’s love would endure the decades as they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June 23rd of this year!

Ken was on the ground floor of a new era of technology as an electrical engineer in the late 1950’s and 1960’s with the evolution of communication and business systems. The family moved to many cities as Ken’s career took off including Mason City, IA, Lansing, MI, Novato, CA, Kansas City, KS among others before settling in Farmers Branch, TX in 1970. Ken had the opportunity to make an impact on the cutting edge of new technology and working with some of the brightest pioneers in the industry of electronics. Ken worked on the first commercially viable Retina Character Reader (today known as the optical scanner or OCR) at Recognition Equipment, Inc. (REI); He also had the unique opportunity to work with the spin-off company, Docutel which introduced the first ATM (Automated Teller Machine); Next, he was employed by Electronic Computer Readout Machines (ECRM) helping to develop and maintain working laser-based optical systems; Ken finished his working career at Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) which was a data services provider initially to the financial service industry before further business expansion. Ken retired in 2004 from ACS. Given his high level electronics acumen, Ken actually built from scratch his own color TV and later built his own TV antennae for the family home as well as wired music access to their backyard area to enjoy some extra features and benefits. He was the ultimate “fixer upper”, knowing how to repair most anything around the house, on cars, machines or electronics and shared this affinity with his son, Wayne.

Ken grew up in a large family with two brothers and four sisters. He remained close with his siblings throughout the years even when distance separated, making family reunions in Iowa a priority as well as visits, calls and celebrations together. He was loved by all the younger relatives too and many recall the year he dressed as an authentic Santa Claus for a special extended family Christmas get together in Iowa in the late 1960’s. All the kids believed he was Santa until his daughter, Traci, astutely identified her Dad’s watch to put two and two together on the real identity.
He was a Private First Class officer in the Army serving as an Ammunition specialist. He was also a master sharp-shooter and known as the best in his platoon. During his time in the Army, Ken married his high school sweetheart, Mary Peterson, in 1956. They were stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland and then Ken was moved to Paris, France where Mary later joined him departing the U.S. port on the USNS Goethals ship on Christmas Eve 1956 to be reunited with her love overseas. Shortly after his military service, Ken attended and graduated from Iowa Tech to start his career in electrical engineering. He and Mary started a family with Wayne born in 1959, Traci in 1961 and Scott would soon follow 11 months later in 1962. Ken and Mary’s love would endure the decades as they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June 23rd of this year!
Ken was on the ground floor of a new era of technology as an electrical engineer in the late 1950’s and 1960’s with the evolution of communication and business systems. The family moved to many cities as Ken’s career took off including Mason City, IA, Lansing, MI, Novato, CA, Kansas City, KS among others before settling in Farmers Branch, TX in 1970. Ken had the opportunity to make an impact on the cutting edge of new technology and working with some of the brightest pioneers in the industry of electronics. Ken worked on the first commercially viable Retina Character Reader (today known as the optical scanner or OCR) at Recognition Equipment, Inc. (REI); He also had the unique opportunity to work with the spin-off company, Docutel which introduced the first ATM (Automated Teller Machine); Next, he was employed by Electronic Computer Readout Machines (ECRM) helping to develop and maintain working laser-based optical systems; Ken finished his working career at Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) which was a data services provider initially to the financial service industry before further business expansion. Ken retired in 2004 from ACS. Given his high level electronics acumen, Ken actually built from scratch his own color TV and later built his own TV antennae for the family home as well as wired music access to their backyard area to enjoy some extra features and benefits. He was the ultimate “fixer upper”, knowing how to repair most anything around the house, on cars, machines or electronics and shared this affinity with his son, Wayne.
He had many outside interests including his love for hunting, bowling and golf. He was also very involved in the Elks Lodge of Irving, Texas for 30 years and served as the Exalted Ruler 1983-1984. One of his passions he enjoyed most during his social time at the Lodge was dancing with Mary, especially to their favorite song

the Tennessee Waltz. Ken was admired by friends and respected by many including some of his children’s classmates that looked up to him like a Dad. Ken had an amazing work ethic and persevered through the ups and downs of life. He had a sharp sense of humor and was a committed family man, a dedicated provider and a loyal friend.
Later in life, Ken came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, at the age of 75, accepting the gift of eternal life. This transformation happened during his involvement with Bible Study Fellowship which he attended with his son, Scott. The family finds great peace in knowing, because of his relationship with Jesus, as Christ followers we will one day be reunited.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Shepherd of Farmers Branch, Texas; Son, Wayne Shepherd of Irving, Texas, Daughter, Traci Cormier and husband, Brett of Plano, Texas and Scott Shepherd and wife, Laura of Irving, Texas; grandchildren Ryan Shepherd, Gabrielle Cormier, Sarah Shepherd and Ashleigh Cormier. He is also survived by his sisters Charlene Francis, Darlene Arndt (husband Bob) and Gail Schroeder (husband Jim) as well as a multitude of nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his mom, Leona (Beenken) Shepherd Phipps; his brothers Wesley Beenken and Foster “Bing” Myers; and, his sister, Violet “Vi” Christensen.

The family would like to thank all that have prayed for Ken, Mary his wife and caregiver, and their special helper, Faith Monie. A memorial service will be held Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Dallas North Funeral Home in Farmers Branch, Texas. Interment will follow at a later date with full military honors to be buried at the DFW National Cemetery.

One Thought on Shepherd, Kenneth Laverne
    Paula Bodie
    13 Oct 2022
    10:41am

    Ken was always such a wonderful daddy to Traci and always had a “pearl of wisdom” to enlighten us with. He will be missed.

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The Gillilands
The Gillilands[click to read more]
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Dear John,

It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Tha you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you.

Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad.

Love, The Gillilands

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