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Thomas J Shepardson
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Birth: Nov. 19, 1943
Onondaga County
New York, USA
Death: Feb. 18, 2003
Onondaga County
New York, USA

From Syracuse Post Standard
By Sue Weibezahl
Staff writer
Funeral director who helped nation deal with disasters dies

In its darkest moments over
the past 16 years, a confused,
sometimes battered country relied
on Thomas Shepardson for
compassionate answers.
The Syracuse funeral director
whose model for disaster response
teams is now used across
the country died Tuesday of an
apparent heart attack. He was 59.
"Dignity and respect for the
deceased especially in very tragic
was what mattered
so much
to him," said
his son, Chris
"Whether it
was a fingernail
or a full
person, he
Shepardson w a n t e d to
make sure that person was treated
with dignity."
Shepardson's most profound
legacy is the creation of DMORT
(Disaster Mortuary Operational
Rescue Team), a disaster
response team charged with
collecting and identifying bodies
after incidents of mass fatality.
Most recently, he had participated
in the rescue and recovery
mission after the terrorist attacks
on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World
Trade Center.
Hours after the attacks, while
commercial flights were grounded
and the skies stripped of air
travel, Shepardson was ushered
via government jet from a California
vacation spot to the scene
of the carnage at the Pentagon in
Washington, D.C. He sent DMORT
teams there, to Pennsylvania
and the World Trade Center
and then went to New York.
"This is a man who spent his
whole life working to help everyone,"
said Gary Moore, deputy
director of the federal Office
of Emergency Response. "He
worked himself to death, and
I'm afraid I mean that literally,
which has us all heartbroken.'
Shepardson had returned at 11
p.m. Monday from attending a
funeral for a friend and fellow
D-MORT member in Nashville,
Tenn. He was out plowing the
parking lot of his funeral home
at 1217 N. Salina St. at about 1.
a.m. to get ready for funerals this
A witness told police it appeared
Shepardson lost control
of the truck and might be ill.
Rescue workers tried to revive
him at the scene, but he was pronounced dead.

Calling hours will be from 5
to 8 p m Thursday at Frasier-
Shepardson funeral home at
1217 N Salina St, and from 4 to
8pm Friday at Blessed Sacrament
Church at 3127 James St.
The service will be at 10 a m
Saturday at the church and
burial will be in Woodlawn
Memorial contributions may
be made to the Thomas J Shepardson
Scholarship Fund, c/o
Blessed Sacrament Church, 3127
James St, Syracuse
Woodlawn Cemetery
Onondaga County
New York, USA
Created by: KCW
Record added: Jun 21, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 112696601
Thomas J Shepardson
Added by: Cathy Alton
Thomas J Shepardson
Added by: Cathy Alton
Thomas J Shepardson
Cemetery Photo
Added by: billyb300
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