Douglas Sheppard, one of the longest serving mayors in Gander, was laid to rest Sunday after he peacefully passed away at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre on Dec. 25
Mr. Sheppard was first elected to Gander council in 1969, and for the next 24 years served as councillor, deputy mayor and mayor — a position he held from 1981 until 1993. He also briefly sat in the mayor’s chair from July 1970, when he took over following the resignation of then-mayor Royal Cooper, until October 1971, when he resigned to run as the Liberal candidate for Gander District in the 1971 provincial election.
Mr. Sheppard grew up on Indian Islands in Notre Dame Bay, and went on to graduate from Memorial University in 1948. After graduating, he began a teaching career that included time as principal at the school in Bonne Bay.
However, he later received an opportunity to work as a manager with the T. Eaton Co. in Gander, which he took and then spent 20 years working in before undertaking other business pursuits.
During his business career, Mr. Sheppard became president of the Gander Chamber of Commerce, which at the time was only six years into its existence and had a total membership of 11.
It was during his tenure as president, the Chamber started its growth, expanding from 11 to 55 members in his first year, and started to reach municipalities outside of Gander.
The organization is now known as the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce, and has more than 200 members.
Mr. Sheppard was also involved in many other organizations during his life, including being the Newfoundland director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the Board, Lakeside Senior Citizens Home; founding director of the Gander Area Development Corporation; chairman, Enterprise Newfoundland Corporation; chairman, Gander Area Community Futures Program; regional vice-president for Newfoundland and Labrador on the F.C. M. National Board of Directors; Central vice-president of Newfoundland and Labrador Federations of Municipalities; chairperson of the Employment Insurance board of referees; a dedicated parishioner and warden of St. Martin's Cathedral; board member of the Gander International Airport Authority; director - Seabright Corporation - Memorial University; and long-time member of Gander Masonic Lodge 16.
Mr. Sheppard leaves to mourn his loving wife of 57 years, Rose (Gallagher McGettigan); son, Paul (Lori); daughters, Judy Ash (Sean), Mary Rose Blackmore (Brian), and Ethna Richters (Fred); grandchildren, Adam Blackmore (Danielle), Seamus Blackmore (Ann), Taylor Anne Sheppard, Evan Sheppard, and Madison Sheppard; and brothers, Cyril Sheppard (Millicent) of Corner Brook, and Sherman and Blanche Hoddinott of Sackville, N.S.