Ronald Lee Shepherd, 70, of East Hampton, CT passed away on April 26, 2018 after a 10 year battle with prostate cancer, with his beloved wife Maggie by his side. He was born in Oklahoma City, OK on September 8, 1947 to the late Ralph W. Shepherd and Marjorie M. Shepherd (Griffith). Ron grew up on a farm in rural Newcastle OK. He was always fascinated by science and always had to figure out what made things work. He attended Oklahoma State University for a short time before enlisting into the U.S. Navy.
Ron served in the Navy from 1967 to 1972. He was a proud submariner, a machinist mate nuclear plant operator having served 3 of his years of service on the USS Nautilus SSN571. He always referred to the Nautilus saying “that’s my boat”. When Ron got out of the Navy he went to work at Electric Boat in Groton CT as a radiation control monitor. In 1979 he decided to get into the Commercial Nuclear Plant industry. He held various positions throughout his nuclear career in Health Physics and worked at Millstone, Maine Yankee, Connecticut Yankee and ending his career as nuclear engineer at the Windsor ABB site in CT. Ron loved to share his knowledge with others. He had a knack to get the job done and actually have fun while doing it! He believed in the KISS concept “keep it simple, stupid”! Because he primarily worked outages he met people from lots of places and made many dear friends along the way. Ron retired in 2014.
Ron had many hobbies throughout his lifetime. Having grown up on a farm he learned how to work on equipment and cars. He was a car enthusiast and enjoyed going to the stock car races at Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. He was crew chief on the #3 Late Model for many years at Stafford. Prior to getting into stock cars Ron road raced motorcycles in the modified classification of the AAMRR – Association of American Motorcycle Road Racers. The first bike he raced was a Norton Commando 750 and then went onto racing a Yamaha RD400. His race number was 438. He raced at Thompson Speedway, Bridgehampton Long Island and Loudon NH.
He enjoyed the outdoors and learned rock climbing. He and climbing partner Steve climbed at Lantern Hill in Ledyard CT and the Gunks in NY. After he was done with the rock climbing & motorcycle racing he decided to do something “safer” and learned how to sail. The Dolphin III was his pride and joy – He and “Only Mate Maggie” lived onboard for 10 years seasonally. They sailed from Maine to CT and then primarily sailed Fishers Island Sound and Long Island Sound, also went to Block Island, Newport & Jamestown RI.
After living on the boat he and his wife enjoyed living in their land yacht (camper) for 14 years. Ron enjoyed tapping the maple trees in Feb – March and making maple syrup on the campfire outside!
Another big part of Ron’s life was MUSIC – both listening to and playing it. He played several instruments: drums & percussion, guitar, fiddle and late in life took piano lessons. He enjoyed all music styles and artists from Miles Davis to Hank Williams Sr! Ron used to carry his bag of percussion instruments whenever he would go to his local hangouts. He played percussion for a while with Martin at back then Smokey’s. He and his wife Maggie played “classic country” with their dear friend Frank for many years. Ron also enjoyed jamming with his friends Miles and Dave when he could.
In recent years Ron was involved with the Horse Feathers Veterans Program at the Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam. He learned how to harness and drive a horse drawn cart and helped as much as he could with the animals involved in the program. He especially bonded with Bjorn a Norwegian Fjord.
Ron was also very spiritual. He called himself a “Buddhapalian” because he was an Episcopalian and also practiced Shin Buddhism. His Buddhist name was Ryusan, which means Dragon Mountain – a person of wisdom. He was a mindful and compassionate man. People always felt “comfortable” with him and could talk about anything. He had a great sense of humor and quick wit. Ron also was a member of
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in East Haddam CT.
In addition to his wife of 33 years, Margaret (Maggie) Shepherd, Ron is survived by his daughter Scheri Guthrie and her husband Steve and granddaughters Aubri and Jaci; brother-in-law Walter Majcher, Aunt Bonita Freeman and several cousins.
Maggie would like to thank everyone at the Middlesex Cancer Center as well as the Chestelm Health and Rehabilitation Center. Also sends much gratitude and love to all friends who have helped her through this difficult time.
A Celebration of Life for Ron is planned for June 10th at Markham Meadows Campground in East Hampton at 1 PM. Interment will be private.
To leave online condolences, share a memory or photos please visit www.spencerfuneralhomeinc.com
If you wish to honor Ron’s memory gifts may be made to Middlesex Hospital, Office of Philanthropy, 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457 or via their Web site www.middlesexhospial.org/support-middlesex-hospital or the Ray of Light Farm – Horse Feathers Veterans Program – 232 Town Street, East Haddam, CT 06423 https://www.rayoflightfarm.org/horse-feathers-donate.