Steven Richard Sheppard, of Rio Verde, AZ passed away peacefully in the arms of family members at dawn on March 3, 2023. He was 67 years old.
Born on February 14,1956 in Tomahawk, WI, Steve was raised in the Northwoods of Wisconsin by a single mom, the stubborn, no-nonsense Caroldean Clark, one of the first women pharmacists in the state of Wisconsin. The youngest of four siblings, with a nine year gap separating him from the rest of the bunch, Steve grew up in some long and impressive shadows, which helped him become the scrappy, competitive, intelligent man he was.
Steve graduated from Alderson Broaddus College in 1979 and attended the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine from 1979-1983. He completed his OB GYN residency in the Philadelphia area before starting his own medical practice with Dr. Susan Peck. A founding partner of Mountain View OB GYN, he ran the practice for twenty-five years, the majority of that time in Hanover, PA. He moved to Ripon, WI in 2013 where he helped reinstate women’s healthcare for Agnesian Healthcare-Ripon Medical Center. As a doctor he was known for being kind, explaining things to people in ways they understood, and fighting valiantly for his patients. He helped usher thousands of babies into the world and whether you were going through the best day of your life or the worst, you wanted him in the room.
Steve was a maniac for sports. He was a quarterback, a lifeguard, a pitcher, a point guard, a golfer and nothing was more important than the game he was playing at that moment. As a middle school basketball coach in the Hanover School District, he modeled himself after Gene Hackman’s character in Hoosiers, giving passionate half-time speeches and obsessing over game footage for days on end. He is remembered by many as constantly having a Tootsie Pop in his mouth during games to prevent him from too aggressively expressing his displeasure with the referees. A die-hard Green Bay Packer fan, he was known for theatrical displays of loyalty, including a four-foot cheese wedge which he occasionally put out in his yard.
He married Nancy Conant Sheppard on August 11, 1979. She was the love of his life, and his partner in forty-three years of its adventures. They worked side by side at Mountain View where she was a nurse and business manager. In Hanover they raised two children, Scott and Brian Sheppard. They retired to Arizona in 2017, living at the edge of the Tonto Verde National Forest. Steve loved the unforgiving beauty of the desert.
Steve was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. After a suite of treatments he became cancer free, but the long term pernicious effects of radiation therapy, which gave him the gift of twenty-three more years, plagued him for the rest of his life. Eating and exercise were a struggle. He went completely non-oral in 2021, but he rarely complained, and endured his hardships with levity and determination. He would jokingly give tasting notes on the bottles of Jevity he poured into his PEG tube. In his final days, he still played golf like a madman. Steve was a buoyant inspiration to those around him for his ability to choose joy and his refusal to let health limitations define his life. In the end, he didn’t lose the fight. He just stopped living. But in true Steve Sheppard fashion he did hang on longer than anyone expected to get one more sunrise, on March 3, 2023. He is survived by his wife Nancy Sheppard, son Scott Sheppard (Renee Blinkwolt), Brian Sheppard (Zoe Shannon), and his siblings Paul Sheppard, Bob (Dian) Sheppard, Judy (Jim) Stoltenberg.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, a donation can be made in his honor to SPOHNC, an organization that provides support for people with oral and head and neck cancer. There will be a service on Saturday, March 18th at 11am at The Community Church of the Verdes, reception at Tonto Verde Golf Club to follow. The family is planning a celebration of life event on the East coast, in the Hanover area, this summer. Details to be announced at a later date.
To watch an online stream of the memorial service on March 18th at 11am (MST), please use visit:
Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, Inc.
PO Box 53, Locust Valley NY 11560-0053