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Deborah A. (Deb) Shepard
September 23, 1957 ~ January 5, 2024 (age 66) 66 Years Old
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Deborah Ann Shepard, beloved spouse to Carol Ann Bouthilette, and daughter of the late Francis and Kathleen (O’Grady) Shepard, died Friday January 5, 2024 in the comfort of her home. Born in Northampton on September 23, 1957, Deb was educated in Northampton Schools and took continuing education classes at Greenfield Community College. Deb also attended the University of Massachusetts where she earned a certificate in paralegal studies.
Deb began her working career as the Recreation Director of the Pediatric Unit at the Northampton Nursing Home during the 1970’s. In the early 1980’s, she took a position working as an administrative assistant for the Summer Youth Programs for the Franklin/Hampshire Employment and Training Center in Northampton MA. As her career progressed, Deb moved on to a position as an administrative assistant working for the Franklin/Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium in Greenfield MA. After a time, she was promoted to Assistant Fiscal Officer where she remained until her retirement.
Deb volunteered for a music production group called Stone Soup Productions that featured area musicians at various venues in Frankin County. This non-profit donated all of its proceeds to area organizations such as NELCWIT (New England Learning Center for Women in Transition). NELCWIT is a sexual and domestic violence crisis center that serves Franklin County and the North Quabbin. Under the umbrella of NELCWIT, Deb was instrumental in the creation of a house created for women who suffered childhood sexual abuse. This house was peer run and helped to provide many programs that supported the healing of survivors. Deb was an integral part in helping to secure state and federal grants for these programs.
The youngest of eight children, Deb looked forward to yearly beach trips in the old Ford station wagons, learned to ride the waves with her father, clam with her grandmother, and was a close companion of her mother. Family meant everything to Deb, and she delighted in retelling memories of earlier years; drive-in movies, camping at the DAR, and favorite family recipes.
Deb and her spouse Carol, enjoyed many wonderful adventures together including a two-month long trip cross country. They stayed in many places of interest. One in particular was being able to camp for several days on Padre’ Island in Corpus Christy Texas where they had the entire island to themselves. After leaving the Island, they ventured to Deb’s brother Michael’s house in Tyler Texas. There they spent a very special and memorable Thanksgiving with Michael and Gillian. Since camping and nature was a passion for Deb and Carol, their camping trips took them all across New England from Connecticut to the Canadian border. Another special trip was to a working organic farm near the border of Canada. Deb & Carol had the opportunity to take care of the farm and all the farm animals when the inn keepers were away. They were the perfect pair, content with spending quiet time together or out and about enjoying the beauty of nature. Carol has been a devoted partner to Deb for the last 44 years and a loving advocate for her during her illness these past 15 years.
In addition to Carol, Deb leaves her sister, Cynthia McSheffrey (Sam) of Plymouth, her brothers Mark (Cyndi) of Northampton, Paul (Sally) of Pittsfield, and Stephen (Betsy) of Buffalo, MN. She was predeceased by her sister Patti Samolewicz (Michael) of Northampton, her brothers, Kevin (Donna) of Easthampton, Michael (Gillian) of Round Rock, TX. and Carol’s brother, Robin Bouthilette. Deb also leaves Carol’s siblings Theresa, Patti, Barry, Paul and Donna. She has many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews that she was so very proud of. Deb also leaves behind her sweet rescue dog Lexi with whom she shared a special bond.
May you dance with the angels dearest Deb but you will be missed here on earth.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Pioneer Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, Lisa’s Loving Home Care and Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home for their kindness, care and respect during a very difficult time.
At Deb and Carol’s request, a private memorial will be held at the family’s convenience in late spring.