Tribute to a life lived in service of others
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.
LIFE OF SERVICE: Errol Shepherd will be remembered for his dedication to others.