By HDN Staff
CHESTER Neil Shepherd, 79, died Saturday, Aug. 31, 2002, while visiting friends in Essex.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Chester United Methodist Church. Burial with military rites will follow at the Chester Cemetery.
Shepherd was born June 11, 1923, at Chester to Glen and Lottie (Mitchell) Shepherd. Neil grew up in Chester and received his education there. He graduated from Chester High School in 1942. For the next two years, he continued his schooling at Northern Montana College in Havre.
Neil enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945. He attained the rank of corporal and served stateside before receiving his honorable discharge due to military demobilization. While serving in the Army, he met his wife-to-be, Alice Marie Nelson. They were married in Missoula on Oct. 26, 1946. They eventually returned to the Shepherd farm at Chester, where they worked and raised two children.
In 1952, the Shepherds built a new home in Chester. In addition to farming, Neil operated the Standard Oil Bulk Plant in Chester for a few years. They sold their Chester home in 1972 and moved to Great Falls, where Neil continued to work for Standard Oil in the bulk fuel business.
After 10 years in Great Falls, the Shepherds moved back to their farm near Chester. They began spending their winters in Hemet, Calif., where they were regulars at the Casa Del Sol RV Park. They loved RV camping and traveling, and were longtime members of the Good Sams Club.
When Alice's health began to fail in 1999, they moved back to Great Falls to be near medical specialists. Alice died on April 15, 2001.
Neil returned to Chester to live at the Sweetgrass Lodge Retirement Center.
Neil was a lifelong member of the Chester United Methodist Church and served in many capacities on church boards and committees over the years. He was also active in the Chester American Legion and assisted with many military burial rites, Memorial Day services, holiday flag placements and other local activities. In 1959, he served as commander of the Montana State American Legion and attended numerous state and national conventions in the years that followed. In addition, Neil served on the Montana Board of Veterans Affairs from 1978-1994.
Neil also belonged to the Joplin Masonic Lodge, Great Falls Shriners Club, and Great Falls Elks Lodge.
He loved golf, especially outings with friends at Shelby or Cut Bank, bowling with Alice, and cards, particularly pan and pinochle. At home, he enjoyed watching old movies. His favorite television shows were Seventh Heaven, Doc, and Bonanza. He also enjoyed going to the coffee shop to socialize with his buddies.
He was preceded in death by his wife; parents; brothers, Ralph, Harold and Leo Shepherd; sister, Carrie Bracken.
Survivors include his son, Roger (Julie) Shepherd of Chester; daughter, Dawn Marie (Scott) Lockwood of Helena; stepsisters, Mary Anna Zauner of Kalispell and Dixie Tye of Minneapolis; special friend, Nell McLouth of Cut Bank; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; numerous nephews and nieces.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.