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Former MPP Howard Sheppard exemplified service

Howard Sheppard

Howard Sheppard


Howard Nicholas Sheppard, the former MPP who was said to exemplify service to the people of Northumberland County, died this week in his 80th year.

Born Oct. 6, 1933, in Codrington, Sheppard was educated at Campbellford District High School. He worked as a farmer and also with the Hamilton Township Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

Rosemarie Robins, who served on Alnwick Township council with Sheppard, recalls his coming to municipal council in 1978 at a time when terms were two years long.

"He decided he would run again, but he was looking for the nod to go to Toronto as MPP, and he did get that nod," she said.

Sheppard defeated Liberal candidate William Wyatt to win the 1981 provincial election to represent the riding in Queen's Park. He served in the legislature as a backbencher in support of the Bill Davis and Frank Miller governments. He was re-elected in the 1985 election, defeating Liberal Joan Fawcett.

Robins recalled that Sheppard was a casualty of the Liberal wave that swept the 1987 election, losing to Fawcett.

Conservative riding association spokesman Karl Bernhardt was happy to share his memories of these years.

"He was a great servant of the people of Northumberland County, having been hugely involved in Northumberland County in all sorts of ways prior to going to the legislature, including municipal politics in what was then Alnwick Township," Bernhardt said.

"I was rather active for the party in Toronto, and Howard made a mark for himself. He was well known and respected by his fellow caucus members, who had an appreciation for his energy and, frankly, his wit.

"The evidence of his committal to service is, after his years in Toronto ended, Howard was back and served again in municipal politics as well as in service organizations," Bernhardt pointed out.

"It seems to me, in my years of dealing with public life in Northumberland, there are very few people who are as genuinely dedicated to service for people in Northumberland as Howard was."

In addition to his time at Queen's Park, Sheppard had also served as a school trustee and as director of the Milk Marketing Board.

Following his years in Toronto, Robins recalled, municipal terms had grown to three years and Sheppard served as reeve of Alnwick from 1994 to 2000.

By that time, the township was in the process of amalgamating with Haldimand Township. Robins ran against him for the deputy mayor spot, and defeated him.

In 2001, the provincial government of Mike Harris appointed Sheppard to the board of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

"I was surprised to note he had reached 80. He was so energetic and younger than his years throughout the years I knew him," Bernhardt said.

"On behalf of the association, our thoughts are with Bernice. They were certainly a great love match, and he will be missed."

Sheppard is survived by his wife Bernice (nee Hagerman) and his children Bruce (Megann), Allan (Bari), Elaine and Eileen (Mike), as well as grandchildren Stephanie, Kathleen (Glen), Brandon (Kim), Tyler Blair (Angela), Layne and Leigh.

His funeral service is planned for Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. at MacCoubrey Funeral Home in Cobourg.

Memorial donations to the Shriners Hospital for Children - Canada, Roseneath United Church or the charity of your choice are appreciated.

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