Arlington man brought out the best in those he met

  • Sat Jun 19th, 2010 10:02pm
  • News

By Kristi O’Harran Herald writer

George Shepard of Arlington was the best kind of friend. The plumber spent many weekends helping folks repair leaking pipes or pumping out flooded basements.

“He wouldn’t always charge people,” said his wife, Lynnea.

They were married March 4.

Her husband died June 2 from a viral heart infection. He was 37 years old.

Shepard was described by his sister, Monica Chase of Granite Falls, as a loyal son, brother, father, husband and friend.

“He challenged everyone around him to be the best they could be and go farther than that,” she said. “He put his children first in so many ways. He loved his sisters and always helped us out any way he could. He loved our parents and it was the same there — stop what he was doing to help — always.”

George William Shepard was born to Arthur and Margareta Shepard on Sept. 13, 1972, in Glendive, Mont. The young boy loved sports and his father often coached his teams. Art Shepard worked for a dairy in Montana and said the only professional football games they could get on their TV were the Minnesota Vikings.

“I had no choice of teams,” Art Shepard said. “We also got only the Atlanta Braves.”

He moved the family to Arlington in 1989, when he took a job at Country Charm Dairy.

“We lived by the high school,” said his wife, Reta Shepard. Her daughter, Shawna Murray, said they were surprised when a little frost on the ground caused the closure of Arlington High School. They don’t close schools in Montana for frost.

George Shepard made friends quickly through the sports world. He was also a fine student, she said. He was born deaf in one ear and benefited from always sitting in the front of the class.

“Two guys at the funeral said they cheated off his papers,” Art Shepard said.

George Shepard married after high school and raised a family. He is survived by his children, Justin and Amanda Shepard and Kody Cunningham, all residents of Arlington, and his grandmother Mary Lou Wieser of Burien.

He met his second wife, Lynnea, almost three years ago through Match.com. Her son, Kody, 9, has cystic fibrosis that requires morning and evening treatments.

When they became a couple, George Shepard pitched in with the boy’s treatments.

“That’s just the kind of man he was,” Lynnea Shepard said.

Family was everything. Though he camped as a child, Shepard didn’t want to sleep in a tent because that took him away from home. A good time for him was drinking Coors Light while barbecuing in the back yard.

He didn’t spend Sundays at a bar watching football, Lynnea Shepard said. Families got together to root on their favorite teams as a group. Her husband, who stuck by his love of the Minnesota Vikings, was the chief cook and bottle washer, rather a perfectionist, who didn’t mind running the house.

A softball coach, George Shepard had a way of commanding respect from his young players, his father said.

He loved to tease and joke. When his father would call him, George would say “Why are you calling me? Don’t you have any friends?”

Then he would laugh.

Monica Chase was with her brother in the hospital before they took him to surgery.

“All his focus was on his kids,” she said. “He couldn’t breathe or hardly move, and was in so much pain, but everyone else came first. That was my brother. Take the focus and attention off himself to make sure everyone else around him was taken care of and at ease.”

Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.