A celebration of life service for Willie Major Sheppard will be held on Wednesday, July 20, at 2 p.m. at the Bay Pines National Cemetery, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., in St Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG — Willie Major Sheppard (also known as Shep) transitioned to his heavenly home on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. He was born on Aug. 18, 1934, in Winter Garden, Fla., to the late Lucy Clide Toms. With his mother and grandmother, Rachel Sheppard, he moved to St. Petersburg at the age of 7.
Sheppard grew up in Macedonia Freewill Baptist Church, where he was baptized at an early age. He attended area public schools and graduated from Gibbs High School in 1954. He served two years on active duty in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957 and two years in the reserves.
In 1965, he moved to Syracuse, N.Y., with his wife, Mary Sheppard, and their four children. Sheppard worked at Syracuse Upstate Medical Center, General Electric in the troubleshooting department, Syracuse Housing Authority in the facilities maintenance department, Neighborhood Health Center as a security officer, and Syracuse University in the parking services division, where he retired in 1999.
In 2008, Sheppard returned home to St. Petersburg to take care of his mother, Lucy, until she died in 2017 at the age of 101.
He loved traveling and often visited his children in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and California.
Sheppard was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, Sylvester Toms. He is survived by his wife Mary Sheppard, daughter Deborah Sheppard-Brooks (Dennis), sons Gregory Sheppard, Derek Sheppard (Robyn), and Derwin Sheppard; six grandchildren, LaShonna Sheppard, Noah Sheppard, Derwin Jamal Sheppard, Jasmine Sheppard, Britni Sheppard, and Blake Sheppard; three great-grandchildren Landon Sheppard, Nolan Sheppard, Dellen Briggs, and a host of cousins and friends.
A celebration of life service will be held on Wednesday, July 20, at 2 p.m. at the Bay Pines National Cemetery, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., in St Petersburg.