Robert C. Shepherd ’57 died on July 11, 2016, in Scarborough, Maine.
(The following was published in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram from July 13 to July 14, 2016:)
BRUNSWICK – Robert Choate Shepherd, 81, a longtime Brunswick and Prouts Neck resident, died on Monday, July 11, 2016.
He was born in Newton, Mass. on Feb. 23, 1935, to Thomas Elwell and Anne Christley Shepherd and is survived by his adored wife of 50 years, Joan R. Shepherd; son, Jonathan C. Shepherd and his wife, Kathryn and daughters, Rebecca P.S. Kurtz, Anne C.S. Solimine and her husband, Joseph, and Catherine A.M.S. Cunningham. He is also survived by his extended family including 11 grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his son, Douglas C.S. Kurtz.
He was never short to remind his family that they were descended from John and Priscilla Alden, William the Conqueror and Charlemagne (though he was always quick to add that half of Europe was also descended from Charlemagne).
The youngest of three children, “Bob,” or “Shep,” attended the Newton public schools and loved playing baseball at Burr Park. In high school, he captained the Newton varsity baseball team. He enjoyed talking about how his team was the 1952 Eastern Massachusetts champs before falling in the state finals. It was a thrill for him to play in Fenway Park, home of his idol, Ted Williams and the Boston Red Sox. He was also elected Vice President of the Student Body.
After graduating from Newton High School in 1953, he headed north to his beloved town of Brunswick and Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin he continued his baseball success, playing center field and captaining the 1957 squad his senior year. Off the baseball diamond, he majored in English and served as the Psi Upsilon Fraternity Secretary and Rush Chair, among other activities.
Upon graduating from Bowdoin, he went to work as a journalist for the Portland newspapers, followed by two years of public relations work for Roger Williams. He then served as Senator Ed Muskie’s press secretary in Washington, DC from 1964 to 1971 before deciding to return to Maine.
Moving back to Brunswick, he worked for Governor Ken Curtis’ administration before beginning a 35-year real estate career. He was always proud of his Federal Street “neighborhood” and continued his political service, serving twelve years on the Brunswick Town Council, the last three as Chairman. In 1995, Bob was awarded the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Designation for successfully leading the Brunswick Naval Air Station’s survival campaign through the Navy’s first rounds of base closings. In Brunswick he was also a President of the Chamber of Commerce, a long time Rotarian, a member of the Town & College Club and the Early Chow Society, to name a few.
After selling their real estate business to their son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Kate, Bob and Joanie enjoyed many winters on Florida’s Gulf Coast, while always returning to Prouts Neck for the summer. At Prouts, Bob was a Treasurer of the St. James Church, a Treasurer of the Charles E. Thomas Memorial Library and a member of the Prouts Neck Country Club Tennis Committee. Until this year, he was a common sight on the tennis courts; not only was he a Men’s Day regular, but he was also seen bringing his squash-built slice and chop to ladies’ doubles, just so that he could team up with his favorite partner, Joanie.
More than anything, Bob delighted in spending time with friends, family and Joanie, the absolute love of his life. His humor, wit, warmth and gentle nature will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.