ST. ALBANS/GEORGIA – Mrs. Claire G. Shepard, a lifelong resident of this area, passed away peacefully with family by her side at her Pillsbury Homestead residence on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
Born on her family’s farm in Fairfield, VT on October 20, 1929, she was the daughter of Euclid and Delia (Rancourt) Giroux. Claire was 89 years old.
Her family moved to Barlow Street, St. Albans when Claire was a teenager, yet despite this disruption and cultural change, Claire, always an eager, hardworking student, graduated among the top of her class at St. Mary’s High School in 1947.
The shy, studious Claire was swept off her feet by Louis P. Shepard, whom the 1947 BFA St. Albans graduating class voted not only “Happiest” and “Peppiest,” but also the guy with the “Smoothest Line.” Who could resist? They married in 1952 after he returned from his service with the United States Army during the Korean War. The couple moved to a lovely old farmhouse on a spacious piece of land on Lake Road in St. Albans Bay where they lived a quiet, happy life devoted to each other and their children for over 60 years until Louie’s passing in 2014.
Claire was never happier than when working in her vast flower gardens. Anyone who ever drove by their home in the summer could instantly see that Claire had not only a passion, but also a true gift for gardening. It was not unusual for tourists to stop and ask to take photos. During the colder months, Claire, who incidentally loved snow—she thought it made everything look like a “Winter Wonderland–spent her days engaged in other favorite hobbies which included almost every kind of craft, but especially sewing. She was a superior seamstress who used her skills to decorate her home and to create made-to-order garments for many loved ones (and their dolls and stuffed animals), including two gorgeous wedding gowns.
Claire was a devout Catholic whose unswerving faith brought her great comfort throughout her life.
Claire is survived by her sons, Steven Shepard and his wife, Kathy, of Georgia, and Brian Shepard and his wife, Kelly of East Fairfield, and her daughter, Nancy Colburn and her husband, Mike, who live in Indianapolis, IN, and her grandchildren, Lindsey Bourbeau and her husband, Brian, Kaitlin Lumbra and her husband, Steven, Samuel Shepard, Jack and Claire Colburn, as well as her great grandchildren, Myles and Charlotte Bourbeau, and Elliana and Evelyn Lumbra.
Claire is also survived by her sister, Rita Larose of Richford, VT and by many, many beloved nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, August 17th at 11:00 AM at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 245 Lake Street, St. Albans. The Reverend Kevin Chalifoux will be the celebrant.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675-8517.
Assisting the Shepard family is Rett Heald and the staff of the Heald Funeral Home, where messages of condolence are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com.