|Birth: ||Feb. 25, 1920|
|Death: ||Jan. 30, 2013|
Beloved father, friend, and patriot, Olen Dean Sheperd passed away in Washington, Georgia on January 30th, 2013 after living a wonderful life. Born in Feb 1920, Olen was a shining example of the "Greatest Generation." After his father died early, Olen helped support his family by working the family farm. Following college, he accepted a high school math teaching position where he met his future bride, Elizabeth (Betty) Green. They fell in love and married during the war. Olen believed in America and knew they needed men with his skills to turn the tide of war. He owned a private pilot's license, and enlisted as an aviation cadet in 1943. Following flight training, Olen flew B-25s as a navigator in the China Burma Theater. He was part of the 12th Bomb Group.
After WWII, Olen remained in the Air Force and continued to fly heavy aircraft (B-36) until he left flying for the world of supply and resource management. He was stationed primarily in the middle of the US (Strategic Air Command) but also had an assignment in Puerto Rico. Olen retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1965 after 22 years on active duty but was soon asked to come to work at the Pentagon as a civil servant. During the years at the Pentagon, he worked on the deputy chief of staff for supply and munitions. He supported efforts during the Viet Nam War, and towards the end of his career, he supported Operation Desert Storm. Olen was a quiet warrior and was fascinated by how the Pentagon operated. For him, each day of work was a joy. During those years he mentored many airmen and was a friend to all. General officers knew Olen when they were Majors and Olen's sense of honor, service, and sacrifice left an indelible mark on those he served with. Olen's fondest memories were with the enlisted force whom he admired greatly and made life long friends. Olen treated people with kindness and respect and years later, men and women would remember his integrity and love of the Air Force.
After 59 plus years of combined federal service, Olen retired from the Air Force and was honored at his retirement ceremony in 2001. During the ceremony he spoke passionately about honor, dedication, and his war experiences. He told his audience that the Air Force was putting too much stock in fighter aircraft and that they needed to develop a new bomber to carry the workload. He was right, and the Air Force is currently developing its next generation bomber aircraft. Following retirement, Olen was sought out and later wrote autobiographical papers for the Library of Congress archives about his WWII experiences.
Life was always an adventure. Olen loved his work and he loved to travel with Betty. Together, they toured through Europe, Africa, Central America, Iceland, and the South Pacific. He also enjoyed his WWII 12th bomber group reunions. His only real failure was that he couldn't cook a thing. Left on his own, Olen would starve without anything to heat up. He also had a sweet tooth, and enjoyed the delightful deserts Betty made. Betty passed away in 2010 and not wanting to give up on life, Olen drafted a resume -- he wanted to work, even if he didn't draw a salary. Once again, he offered his services. In these last years, Olen enjoyed going to church and he loved his family and their families.
In late 2012, Olen participated in a small celebration of the Sheperd family's 200th year in America. Olen presided over the event as the family patriarch and enjoyed seeing information about his Shepherd/Sheperd family ancestors. It was his last official act and the Lord called him home in 2013.
Left behind to celebrate his life and to carry on in his honor, are his son Jim Sheperd (Linda), son Jon Sheperd (Kathie) and daughter Jackie Doster (Ken). The family is especially grateful to Jackie and her husband for their years of devotion and care for her father. Also, left behind are three grandchildren: Jay, Christina, and Brittany and two step-grandsons John and Jeff. Also three great grandchildren: Meridith, Angela, and Samuel. The family also wishes to express their appreciation to Family Care for their meticulous care of Olen.
Donations in Olen's memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or a charity of your choice.
Elizabeth Green Sheperd (1916 - 2010)*
Saint Paul Methodist Church Cemetery
Created by: David Niebes
Record added: Feb 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104651341