James Shepard, MD

Obituary of James Renwick Shepard, MD

James Renwick Shepard, M.D., died on the evening of Sunday, November 19, 2023, in Hilton Head, S.C. A multi-talented, many layered man, he spent his 92 years exploring the world with a unique and spirited enthusiasm, impacting many along the way.

Jim - known as “Shep” to many - was born in New York City to Katherine MacMillan Shepard and Frank Parsons Shepard on September 18, 1931. With his family he spent formative years in France, London, New York City, and East Hampton. His educational background at The Buckley School, St Paul’s School, Yale University, Columbia University, and New York University Medical School resulted in distinguished achievements and a deep appreciation for learning, to which he committed himself even into retirement. His medical career in Otolaryngology included practices in White Plains and Mt. Kisco, N.Y. He particularly enjoyed his time at the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, and his faculty membership with New York University.

As a natural athlete, Jim played or avidly followed sports (baseball, football, ice hockey, and golf) for most of his life. He was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees and was committed to the New York Jets since the team’s inception. In retirement, Jim greatly enjoyed golfing with friends, and those friendships remained significant to him well beyond his playing years.

Aside from sports, his avocational interests were eclectic and reflected the same intelligence and dedication that applied to his profession. They included fishing, biking, birding, reptiles, photography, meditation, weapons, history (his major at Yale), and the treatment of anxiety and addiction. His study of photography spanned a 40-year period, from Kodachrome slides in the 1950’s to the digital technology of the 1990’s, and he was an accomplished photographer. After retirement, and a move to the low country of South Carolina, he took great pride in becoming a certified Master Naturalist. He embarked on daily rides around the neighborhood to look for gators and was both thrilled and protective when snakes would visit his backyard. He could whistle to wild bluebirds to come and eat worms from his hand. With an ongoing interest in wellness - and having become an addiction counselor in New York just prior to retirement - he started a program for health care workers in Bluffton, South Carolina, which he led for many years.

In all these pursuits, Jim interacted, studied, collected, followed, or possessed with unique purpose and style. He knew not the word ‘moderation’ when it came to the people and things that were special to him.

He is survived by his wife, Wendy Townsend Shepard; his children, Sandra Shepard, Sarah Shepard (Jeffrey) Scott, Mary Shepard (Edward Lynch), Phyllis Shaw Forbes, and James MacMillan Shepard; a stepdaughter, Jennifer Townsend (James Burke); fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Katherine M. and Frank P. Shepard; his siblings, Frank P. Shepard, III, John Shepard, Margaret (Philip) Harder; and his stepdaughter, Melissa Townsend Palazzetti.

Jim had profound feelings and love for each and every one of his blended family. Although never entirely comfortable at large parties, family gatherings of any size were dear to him. He will be greatly missed.

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