Amherst Magazine
25th Reunion

JOHN ANDRUS SHEPARD

Box 1191

New London, NH 03257

JOHN ANDRUS SHEPARD

DELTA UPSILON

207 Harrison St., East Orange, N. J.

Football (1, 2; "'49" 1).

Jack Shepard

John Shepard 49.pngI came to Amherst in September, '46 with three semesters' credit from Dartmouth with the Marine V-12 program. After three months in North College - I think that is the dormitory by Johnson Chapel - I was one of the first to move to Stearns where Jim Corrigan joined me as roomate. Together we shaped up a group of fuzzy-cheeked freshmen, a. fine bunch of guys whom I remember happily. One, Bro Park, lives in nearby Grantham and runs a very successful high-class kitchen ware shop. Jim and I went our separate ways in the Spring, he to Psi U, I to DU. I made a try for the football team, but a knee injury gave me the excuse to get out of a situation where I was over my head. Those great athletes at DU still accepted me, and I spent the remaining semesters rooming with such great guys like Dave “Mother” Kunz, Dick Cocheran, Dick Simon, and Jerry Riley. One thing about rooming with Jerry - you didn’t need an alarm clock.  That guy was up every morning at six to go to Mass, a wonderful example to those of us whose only exposure to Church was Chapel. I have to admit that my three years at Amherst were not distinguished, but a when there were happy days and good friends.

After graduation I spent 41 years teaching; and Headmastering. My first school was Peck in Morristown, then to Eaglebrook in Deerfield for ten years, the Tuxedo Park School in NY for eighteen years, and finally St, Mary’s Episcopal Day School in Tampa for eleven years. I taught Latin at all the schools and also was Headmaster at the last two. In June, 1991 at the age 65, 3 months, I retired. The only other Headmaster in our Class - I believe - is Ed Hitchcock, whose company I enjoyed at educational meetings.

The most important event in my life was a trip through Europe made possible by a dear aunt who gave me this gift after I earned a Masters at Harvard. While tripping through the highlands of Scotland I sat next to Mary Grindley. Ten months later we were married in Christ Church, Cranbrook. We have given each other 41 years of a happy, satisfying life. I never would have been able to enjoy my successes, survive my set-backs, without Mary with me. We enjoy so many activities together - biking, skiing, tennis, reading, music. We are blessed with four wonderful children, three boys and Louise. Our major tragedy was the death of Louise, age 17, in her bed in Tampa - pulmonary influenza - but we suspect the teen-age equivalent of SIDS. The only good spinoff is that we are a very close family - probably would have been, anyway - and our boys keep in regular touch with us and with each other. Two are teachers. Jake, our oldest, is a teacher/administrator back at the Tuxedo Park School, Fred is at the Tower School in Marblehead, and Rob, ‘82 - also an ex-Marine and Harvard MBA - is with Reebok. They have given us three grandchildren.

When I retired, we moved from Tampa to N. Sutton, NH where Mary and I found a wonderful house looking out at Mt. Kersage. We are healthy, active, involved in our community. Life is good.

Deceased March 14, 2013

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In Memory

John Andrus "Jack" Shepard died peacefully at home in North Sutton NH on March 14, 2013, after a two and a half year battle against lung cancer.

Jack followed his brother (Tom – ’40) to Amherst after graduating from Newark Academy in 1944.  His matriculation was interrupted for a year as he enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. During those summers, he discovered his passion for teaching while coaching underprivileged children to swim which then set his course for a distinguished career in elementary education.

His professional career had four stops, the first being a brief stint at the Peck School in Morristown, NJ.  He spent the next 10 years at the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield MA where he served as Assistant Headmaster.  He met his wife, Mary Grindley, in the summer of 1956. They married a year later and went on to raise a family of 3 boys and a girl.  While at Eaglebrook, he received his Masters in Education from Harvard which led him to two accomplished headmasterships, the first at Tuxedo Park (NY) School from 1963-1980 and the second at St Mary's School in Tampa FL from 1980-1991.  He retired to New London NH in 1993 and spent the last 20 years engaged in local civic activities while enjoying his close circle of family and friends.

Some of the qualities that made my Dad such a great educator include his patience, optimism and sense of humor. As a headmaster and Latin teacher, he recognized teaching talent and inspired many successful teachers by way of his example.  It takes a great teacher to bring a dead language to life and my Dad did that tremendously in many ways: explaining the etymology of words from their Latin roots; using humorous examples to grasp grammatical concepts; and employing mnemonic devices to learn the arcane Latin declensions and conjugations.  More than just subject mastery, my Dad taught his students how to conduct themselves with integrity, respect and confidence by developing a strong sense of community at his schools.  Many of his former students fondly remembered his handshake line and some begrudgingly acknowledged his fairness as a disciplinarian. A touching testimony to his influence as an educator was the outpouring of support from the more than forty former students who braved a blizzard to pay condolences at his memorial service in March.

At his final commencement exercise at Tuxedo Park School in 1980, the TPS Board Chairman ended his remarks about Jack’s impact with the following comments: “Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit – There is nothing he touched that he did not adorn.  He adorned each child in his community of students, and by doing so he adorned our community.  He leaves us now to adorn another community of learning.  His influence will not stop, in that community or in this.”

My Dad lived a full, wonderful life and cherished his Amherst experience.  His greatness as an educator was overshadowed only by his greatness as a husband and as a father.

Rob Shepard ‘82

 

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