Charles W Shepherd

July 12, 1929August 18, 2020

Charles William Shepherd, Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Charles William (Bill) Shepherd, 91, passed peacefully at home on Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Born to Harry and Byna Shepherd on July 12, 1929 in Pontiac, Illinois, Bill attended the University of Illinois where he was the Chapter Vice President of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. He graduated in 1951 with a B.S. in Journalism and Communications. Upon graduation, he joined the Merchant Marine and made six trips to the Mediterranean before enlisting in the Navy; he proudly served with the Sixth Fleet, and in Germany, France and Japan during the Korean conflict.

Upon release from active duty, Bill moved to New York City where he pursued a Master’s degree at NYU, and a “stewardess” from Boston he had met skiing. Bill and Marie married in Massachusetts on January 24th, 1959, and started a family in Cresskill, New Jersey. Bill also began a successful 26-year career working for New York Life Insurance Company in Public Relations and Advertising. When NYL transferred the Shepherd family to Chicago in 1964 they purchased a home in Glen Ellyn Woods in which they lived for over 50 years.

Early retirement afforded Bill more time to devote to his true passions, church, family, the Naval Reserve, teaching (English Composition and Writing at the College of DuPage) and volunteering with various service organizations including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Family Services of DuPage County, Chicago Council of the Navy League, Illinois Naval Militia as well as a dozen other organizations, all with Navy- related acronyms.

Bill was guided by his Christian faith and was active as an elder, trustee and member of the choir at Southminster Presbyterian Church where he attended over 55 years. Known as “the outside guy”, worship for him included mowing the lawn, yard work and maintaining the grounds. His construction skills and love of the outdoors landed him a number of special projects for the Morton Arboretum.

Bill enjoyed woodworking, carpentry, gardening, photography, reading, writing, canoeing, camping and tennis. Music, playing the clarinet and singing, always brought him great joy. Growing old for Bill simply meant you could “ski for free” and he did, continuing to “cruise the blues” into his 80’s. However, his ultimate pleasure was sailing. Lake Michigan was Bill's other sanctuary and he loved entertaining family, business associates and friends on his sailboat.

Bill had a profound love for God, country, family, friends and… the Navy. After nearly 40 years of service he retired as a decorated Captain.

Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years Marie (Hirvonen) Shepherd, his brother Jim (and Mary) Shepherd, son John (and Nina) Shepherd, daughters Jennifer Kruse (and Mike) Burke, Joan (and David) Spata and Barbara (and Buddy) O'Brien, and 12 grandchildren -- Dr. Abigail Shepherd (and Rev. Cameron) Beyenberg, Faith Shepherd, Joanna Shepherd, Stewart Cox, HN Josef Kruse (Navy), Elijah Kruse, Adeline Spata, Ethan Spata, Amelia Spata, Alaini Spata, Buddy O’Brien III and Harrison O’Brien.

During Bill’s last days he was surrounded with love from his grateful family, as well as by the outstanding staff at Brookdale Senior Living and caregivers from Peace Hospice.

A private memorial service will be held at 9:30 am, Sunday, August 30th. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Southminster Presbyterian Church 680 S Park Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Charles W Shepherd

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