Trib­ute to a life lived in ser­vice of oth­ers

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR COMMUNITY - - Con­trib­uted by Ju­dith Shep­herd

PAS­TOR, trades­man, sol­dier and fam­ily man are some ways in which Gayn­dah’s Cit­i­zen of the Year will be re­mem­bered.

At this year’s Aus­tralia Day Awards Er­rol Shep­herd was hon­oured for his con­tri­bu­tion to the Gayn­dah com­mu­nity that he loved, and where he felt at home and ac­cepted.

His con­tri­bu­tions in­cluded seven years as the RSL Sub-branch pres­i­dent, a board mem­ber of YMCA Gayn­dah, a prac­ti­cal sup­porter of the Wood­mil­lar Wa­ter Scheme and a skilled lo­cal trades­man.

But, with­out doubt Er­rol’s great­est de­sire was serv­ing God and help­ing other peo­ple.

He of­ten did things with­out oth­ers nec­es­sar­ily know­ing, and cer­tainly his ac­tions of­ten spoke louder than words.

The Pres­by­te­rian Church pas­tor for 15 years, Er­rol brought his fam­ily to Gayn­dah in 1986.

In this min­istry and role that he loved, Er­rol was also able to do a large part of the con­struc­tion of the ac­tual church build­ing.

When the fam­ily moved just out of town in 1990, Er­rol en­joyed work­ing with his son David to build a stone shed on the prop­erty; with a sec­ond smaller stone shed built last year.

The ev­i­dence of Er­rol’s work as a skilled trades­man, and mem­ber of the com­mu­nity is ev­ery­where for all to see and as a lov­ing, kind and peace­able fam­ily man who also took great de­light in his six grand­chil­dren.

Born in Bris­bane on March 5, 1949, Er­rol was the sec­ond son, but third child, of Mervyn and Emily Shep­herd.

At age 15, Er­rol joined the Aus­tralian Army, at­tend­ing the Ap­pren­tice­ship School in Vic­to­ria, where he not only trained as a sol­dier, but also com­pleted his high school sub­jects and qual­i­fied as a carpenter and joiner.

Er­rol gained five of the eight medals in his trade awarded at the school, and served as Bat­tal­ion Sergeant Ma­jor in his fi­nal year.

In 1968, he re­ceived a spe­cial award – the Bronze Medal­lion for Out­stand­ing Ap­pren­tice of the Aus­tralian Mil­i­tary Forces – pre­sented by His Royal High­ness The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Er­rol served in Viet­nam as a com­bat engi­neer from June 1969 to June 1970.

Af­ter mar­ry­ing his child­hood sweet­heart Ju­dith (Sykes) in 1971, they re­turned to Vic­to­ria where he worked for two years as a trade teacher, and where son David was born.

Fol­low­ing Er­rol’s dis­charge from the army in 1974, the Shep­herds worked for nine years in mis­sion­ary ser­vice in the Western Province of Pa­pua New Guinea, where daugh­ter Karen was born.

On his re­turn from PNG, Er­rol was as­sis­tant pas­tor of the Bald Hills Pres­by­te­rian Church in Bris­bane, un­til mov­ing to Gayn­dah.

Er­rol’s di­ag­no­sis of melanoma in Au­gust 2008, and the sub­se­quent surg­eries and ra­dium as a re­sult of this was in­deed a huge chal­lenge for him and his fam­ily, re­sult­ing in life­style changes.

Over this very dif­fi­cult time, Er­rol’s strength of char­ac­ter, his ut­ter trust on the Lord Je­sus Christ was wit­nessed by all.

He died peace­fully at home, at­tended by fam­ily, on May 19, 2014.

It is a fit­ting tes­ta­ment that Er­rol Charles Shep­herd was a very lov­ing and much loved hus­band, fa­ther, grand­fa­ther and a true friend to us all.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

LIFE OF SER­VICE: Er­rol Shep­herd will be re­mem­bered for his ded­i­ca­tion to oth­ers.

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