Tom Gene "Red" Sheppard

July 3, 1925 - January 15, 2024

On Monday January 15, 2024 T. G. “Red” Sheppard passed from this life having lived long and accomplished much.
Red was born July 3, 1924 born to Osborne Lionel and Mary Elizabeth Sheppard in Gridley, California, who were ranching in the area. His early years in California were spent with his best friend and cousin Jack, also a redhead.
An itinerant carpenter hired at the ranch took a shine to this industrious young lad and gave him the nickname “Buck.”
Thereafter, to the family he was affectionately called “Buckie.” He attended Liberty School and started high school at Gridley High before moving to Nevada. Sisters: Peggy, Patricia, Helen and Louise were born later.
In 1939, the family purchased the Zimmershed Ranch in Buena Vista Valley located below Unionville.
From an early age he proved himself capable of handling any task. His dad assigned him to help establish the ranch in Nevada.
He loaded cattle onto the train in California and moved the herd to Imlay, Nevada, where the critters were off loaded and, alone on horseback, moved by Buck to the ranch.
He took time to help get the ranch settled before attending Pershing County High School in Lovelock. The ranch was distant from Lovelock, so he boarded with a local rancher and broke horses to pay his board and room.
In high school he was captain of the football team and lettered in football and basketball. He liked math and civics and learned basic electrical and trades in school.
He joined the U S Navy at the beginning of World War II, attended Boot Camp at Farragut, Idaho.
He was selected for Navy Sonarman School and trained with officers and enlisted men. Red was deployed to the Pacific Fleet on the Navy Destroyer USS Leutze. In the battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, he was hit with a .50 caliber shell in the shoulder from a Japanese aircraft and nearly killed.
He recovered in the naval hospital and throughout recovery refused any pain medicine, which was morphine.
Tom Gene Sheppard was awarded the Purple Heart on January 20, 1945.
Following his honorable discharge from the US Navy he returned to the family ranch. On a trip to Winnemucca to buy groceries at the Pedroli Market he met Doris Ruby McCoy, whom everyone called Dorie.
The courtship was brief and they were married at the McCoy home by Justice of the Peace John Fransway on September 17, 1946.
There was no honeymoon. They went immediately to the ranch where the new bride was initiated as a hay truck driver while Red was bucking bales.
Red’s Dad said he didn’t know why the hell anyone would get married in hay season.
Life on the ranch was busy and son Mike arrived ten months later; daughter Paddy in 1949; son Terry in
1950; the twins, daughter Cheri and son Charlie in 1952; and son Tom arrived in 1957 after the move to Winnemucca.
Red was a licensed pilot; he flew a Piper Super Cruiser which was used on the ranch to gather Mustangs with and inspect the extensive range operations.
After the severe cold weather and drought of the early 1950s the Sheppard family lost the ranches in Unionville, Oreana and Elko and the moved to Winnemucca in 1955 with only their clothes and an old station wagon.
After a quick remodel to the McCoy house unfinished basement, including the Quarter Circle T Brand he laid into the tile floor, the family had a home, albeit with very close quarters.
After a brief stint building a retort at a remote mine, Red started a construction partnership with his father-in-law Melvin McCoy and brother-in-law Joe (Bud) McCoy. Red did the drawings and they built a number of homes.
In 1960, Red and Dorie started T. G. Sheppard Construction and he continued to design and construct homes and built a number of the local motels. In the late 60s, Joe Mackie the proprietor of the Star Casino, purchased the Sonoma Inn property and enlisted T. G. Sheppard Construction and a number of local subcontractors to create the Winners Inn.
He painted “Go Red Sheppard Go” on the building and the crews worked seven days a week until completion.
In the early 70s the company started to focus on more commercial and industrial work, and entering the
70s Dorie and Buckie were progressively developing and investing in property. The editor of the local newspaper approached Red and asked if he would consider running for Mayor because long time and well respected Mayor Felix Scott would be stepping down. He was taken by surprise as he did not consider himself a political candidate. The editor expressed that 80% of what the City spends their money on was in Red’s realm of expertise. He was elected Mayor in 1971 and took on the job with the same commitment he dedicated to every endeavor from the time he was born. It was a very productive four-year term. One of the significant accomplishments was the development of the City and County cost-sharing agreement which continues to this day and is unique among State of Nevada local governments. Red served with Commissioner Pete Bengochea, Councilman Leslie “Peanuts” Harmon and Councilman Bob Unger. Recorder Evelyn Harmon said that Red came to understand public budgets more thoroughly than most newly elected council members.
The construction company developed Railroad Subdivision, Skyland Subdivision, Parkview Subdivision and constructed a number of public and private buildings in Winnemucca and northern Nevada.
Throughout the 70s all five of the Sheppard kids worked for the company that had grown to the largest and most diverse construction company in Humboldt County. Continuing into the 80s, the company moved operations toward developing owned properties and ultimately became the largest family owned property enterprise in Humboldt County.
Red is widely known and respected throughout northern Nevada. In later years, as the company reduced the scope and size of operations, he moved out of the office and spent more time in the field and throughout the 80s and into the 90s he continued to build hands on. Locals looked upon Red’s continued work ethic with amazement and interest.
On October 6, 2003, Dorie’s long struggle with Parkinsons disease ended with her passing surrounded by all of her immediate family. Red continued his non-stop work designing and building spec housing. In
2005, Red encountered Elaine Goodale, a family acquaintance, who in earlier years worked at Humboldt Readymix, one of the family companies. Elaine’s husband Chic had passed on years before and she was working on NDOT Highway projects.
They started keeping company and later married. They spent the recent years together developing property and Elaine was eventually able to divert Red from constant work to more recreation in life.
They attended concerts and went on cruises. Elaine sent Cheri a text while on a trip to Alaska saying Red is fun when you get a few drinks in him.
Throughout the recent pandemic, Elaine’s son Todd Goodale and wife Linda were ever present support for Red and Elaine.
Red is survived by his wife Elaine Goodale Sheppard, son Mike (Michelle) Sheppard, daughter Paddy Dawn Legarza, daughter Cheri Ann Maynick (Ray Hyne), son Charlie Lynn Sheppard, son Tom Gene Sheppard Jr., grandsons Zachary (Sarah Curran) Sheppard, Clay (Tasha) Sheppard, and Jeff (Tammy) Maynick, granddaughter Abby Lynn Berglund, and great grandchildren Nisan Sheppard, Jonathan Sheppard, Elowyn Berglund, Lilly Maynick, Leo Maynick, and Cole Curran Sheppard. He is preceded in death by his wife Doris Ruby Sheppard, parents Osborne and Mary Elizabeth Sheppard, son Terry Lee Sheppard, and sisters Peggy Evers, Patricia Allred, Helen Wineman, and Louise Maher Dennis.
Funeral services will be held 10 am Tuesday January 30, 2024 at the Boys & Girls Club located at 1973 Whitworth Way in Winnemucca with internment at the Winnemucca Cemetery at 11:30 am.
A reception with lunch will follow at the Boys and Girls Club at 1 pm.