Kenneth E. Shepard, age 78, of Albia, passed away on Oct. 23, 2020, at Mercy One Medical Center in Des Moines, of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Kenneth was born on June 16, 1942, to Samuel V. and Wilma Ruth (Van Zante) Shepard at Pleasant Corners in Monroe County.
He grew up and attended Albia Community High School graduating in 1960. After high school, Kenneth joined the United States Air Force and was a member of the 516th FMS Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas during the Vietnam Era. He was very proud of his military service. On Oct. 28, 1967, he was united in marriage to Helen Marie Crall at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Georgetown. To this union three children were born, Larry Eugene, Laura Anne and Mark Alan. They shared almost 53 years of marriage together before his passing.
After proudly serving his country, he returned home and was employed at John Deere Ottumwa Works on April 19, 1965. He worked in many departments over his career, ending in Experimental before his retirement on April 19, 1995. He was proud of his young retirement after giving 30 years. Kenneth also farmed and became an auctioneer during those years. He actively continued farming and loved attending farm auctions to maintain a good line of equipment until his last days.
Kenneth was an original board member of Welcome Home Soldier; lifetime member of the American Legion Howard Cessna Post #136, Albia; associate member of the Knights of Columbus; long-time 4-H, FFA and Fairboard member serving as club leader and Fairboard President over the years. He was recognized with the Honorary FFA Degree in 1998. He was a member of Monroe County Cattlemens and Monroe County Farm Bureau where he was inducted into the Farm Bureau Hall of Fame in 2016. Kenneth was a member of Poppin' Johnnies Two-Cylinder Club of Southeast Iowa and involved with the Southern Iowa Vintage Tractor Club. Most of all, Kenneth loved being with family and friends. Whether it was being the proudest fan at his grandkid’s activities or other sporting events, traveling all over the country to support someone that was important to him or just attending his daily "meetings" to play cards or cribbage. He never knew a stranger and valued all of his relationships.
He is survived by his wife, Helen Marie of Albia; his children, Larry Shepard, Laura (Mark) Teno, Mark (Lisa) Shepard, all of Albia; his grandchildren, Mary and Sam Shepard, Max, Megan and Morgan Teno and John Shepard; honorary family members, Erin Lundgren, Cody and Caden Walker; his sisters, Elaine (Dean) James, Delores (Ron) Matthews, Martha (Robert) Van Sickel, Lela (Steve) Griffin; sisters-in-law, Mary Joanne (Mike) Wasko, Charlene Crall; brother-in-law, Steve (Gloria) Crall and step mother, Gwen Shepard; step siblings, Barb (Richard) Coltrain, Dean Taylor, Gary (Susan) Taylor, Sharon Robb, Steve (Carol Emal) Chance, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Wilma; his step mother, Mildred Shepard; his brother and sisters-in-law, John Joe and Olive Crall, William and Helen Marie Crall and Bernard Crall.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday Nov. 2, 2020 at Sinnott Funeral Home in Albia with Father Mark Yates C.PP.S. officiating. Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Albia with military rites. Visitation will be held on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, opening to the public at 3 p.m., with Kenneth’s family present to greet family and friends from 4-7 p.m., Sunday evening at the funeral home. There will also be a Christian Wake Service held at 6:30 p.m., at the funeral home Sunday evening. According to the rules put in place by the Iowa Department of Public Health, proper social distancing and reasonable personal protective equipment is advised for attending a religious public event. Memorials may be directed to the Welcome Home Soldier Monument. Online condolences may be left for the family at sinnottfuneralhome.com.