Daniel G. Shepherd, 76, passed from this life on April 4. 2019. He was born March 31, 1943 to George & Audrey Shepherd in Union County, Iowa.
He grew up in the Thayer and East Union School District, where he began to date his future wife, when she was a freshman and he a junior. Dan, knowing that this was the only red headed woman for him, joined the Navy in 1961, while waiting for Phylis May Reynolds to finish high school. She graduated on a Tuesday and they were married on Friday, May 24, 1963 immediately leaving for Camp Pendleton, California, where he was stationed as a Navy Corpsman. She was his best friend, soul mate and partner.
They were happily married for 55 years at his passing. A son, Jeffrey Daniel and a daughter, Robin Rochelle, came along in the early years of their marriage, both graduating from the University of Iowa. Jeff went back later to obtain his Master’s Degree in Library Science. (Dad was extremely proud of both of his children).
Dan’s professional life included 4 years in the Navy; 10 years as a manager for the P.M. Place stores; 24 years with Farm Bureau Insurance as an agent and manager; 3 years with Great American Crop Insurance and 10 years with the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association.
During this time Robin married David P. Nordhues and two granddaughters followed, Emilie Elizabeth & Abigail May, who were the apple of their grandfather’s eye. Both girls are attending Wheaton College, a Christian College, near Chicago. The girls spent many hours trying to teach him to use proper English, a never-ending task and great “fun” for all. His immediate “family” was a vitally important part of his life.
Dan came to know Jesus Christ, as his personal Savior in the early 70’s and spent many hours serving his Master through various churches and church committees, where he met and came to know & love many Christian people along with church pastors. His favorite gospel music came from the Gaither Homecoming Friends and the Gaither Vocal Band. He was born again, spirit filled, child of the living God who loved the Lord with all his heart and soul.
Once he retired, Dan would spend 45 minutes to an hour, almost every day, in Bible study. He went on the Walk to Emmaus in 2014 as a pilgrim, in 2018 as a team member, and in 2019 as a table leader. This was another opportunity for growth over a 72-hour jam packed weekend with other Christian Men. Dan often commented that he was busier in retirement than he ever was in his working years.
One of his greatest joys was the formation of God’s Shepherds Pulpit Supply Ministry, with good friend Paul Dykstra, a Lay Pastor. Another venture began by Paul, John Reasoner and Daniel was the annual Men’s Celebration; which was a huge success when they could get close to 50 men to take a couple of hours on a Saturday morning to praise the Lord while hearing a half dozen personal testimonies, mixed with scripture, prayer and hymn singing.
He had several health issues, beginning with his heart, in 1986 and open heart surgery in 1991. The most serious issue occurred in the Fall of 2009, when he spent 65 days in the hospital and truly became a “Walking – Talking Miracle”. He later spent many Sundays thereafter, in different churches in Southwest Iowa, sharing his personal testimony. He became a Lay Speaker, delivering Christian messages on a variety of subjects as a member of God’s Shepherds Pulpit Supply Ministry. He firmly believed that only through the power of prayer, the Grace of God, and His healing touch, he was able to enjoy another 3,380 “bonus days” on this earth.
Dan loved his country and was proud to fly the American flag at home. He loved the Veteran’s Cemetery at Van Meter and was heard, many times, telling his granddaughters, that “freedom is not free”. Another of the many highlights in his life was to finally visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. while working for the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, George & Audrey Shepherd; his sisters Frances Jones and Gretta Sue Shepherd Schlebach; a younger brother, Terry Mack, who ultimately died of complications from Agent Orange having served in Vietnam with the Air Force, and nephew Brian Engle.
He is survived by his wife, Phylis May; son Jeffrey Daniel; daughter Robin Rochelle Nordhues and husband David Paul and granddaughters Emilie Elizabeth & Abigail May; two sisters Judy Shepherd of rural Osceola, Iowa; Dixie Shepherd of Miami, Oklahoma; sisters-in-law Doris Weber of Ankeny, Iowa, Sharon Swigart & husband Dennis of Des Moines, Iowa, Clenna “Roan” Shepherd of Dallas Center, Iowa; multiple cousins, nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.