Mr. Paul Lee Shepherd, age 80, of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, passed away peacefully Tuesday, November 7. He was born June 1, 1943, in Roanoke, Virginia.
Paul was raised on a farm by his loving mother and father. Education was of great importance to Paul so after high school, he went on to attend and graduate in 1965 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering. By this time, he was married to his long-term sweetheart, Sue Ellen Via and they began planning a long life together.
Paul and Sue ventured out and began his career and a family. They moved to Mobile, Alabama and soon found themselves in Terre Haute, Indiana where they welcomed their first daughter, Lisa Dawn, in 1966. They eventually moved to Soddy Daisy to begin a long career with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Four years after Lisa arrived, they welcomed another baby girl, Sheri Leigh, to the family. They welcomed their youngest daughter, April Nicole, to the family in 1973 when they were finally able to buy their first house together.
By this time, Paul had discovered and fell in love with Amateur radio and found himself getting his license. He was very well known in the ham radio world as N4BPH-SK (also known as N4 Ball Peen Hammer). He loved tinkering with the radios and talking to people around the world but most of all discovered a whole new family with other ham operators that lived in North Carolina. He and Sue spent a significant amount of time toting the family to Standing Indian Campground every year to meet up and primitive camp with some of the most incredible folks you can ever know. They have stayed friends with most of them ever since.
Right behind this came his love for hunting and mudding. He and his buddies joined a Jeep Club and would pack up all their families and head to the mountains to go mudding in an old green army Jeep. Then the rest of his time was spent in a tree stand to hunt deer (and was known to enjoy a nap or two in that same tree stand).
After moving to Tennessee, Paul began at Paradise Steam Plant and eventually worked at Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, and eventually Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. He retired while at Sequoyah (the first time) in 1994, but like any good TVA employee, found himself contracting back to TVA for the next 25+ years. He was still doing contract work on substation design up until about a month before he passed.
Paul was a wonderful husband and father, but also a model mentor to so many young and old engineers. He never cut corners. He never did things the easy way. He always modeled how to do life the right way. These are just a few of the traits he brought with him to every part of his life. He was about kindness, fairness, integrity, hard work, and knowledge. Even though he raised three daughters, he made sure to teach them everything they needed to get by in life. Sometimes, it was just the proper way to do chores. Other times it was how to change the oil or replace brakes or drive a tractor or just do math. If he didn’t know how to do something, he made certain to learn so he could teach his girls the same information.
And, finally, it cannot go unmentioned that he loved cars and campers, tractors, and trucks. He loved tinkering and fixing anything he could get his hands on. He also loved dogs and was an amazing Pop to all his own pets and the many granddogs that his daughters have kept around. He would gladly suffer through a lick attack with the best of them because he just couldn’t bear to tell them no.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sue Ellen Shepherd and his three daughters, Lisa Dawn Head, Sheri Leigh Yother and April Nicole Cox. And you couldn’t have found a prouder Pop Pop when he became a grandfather to Kristina Leigh, Elizabeth Ashley, Michael Anthony, Brittney Michelle, Dillon Colt and now to a great granddaughter, Erin Leigh.
The family will receive friends Friday, November 10, from 4 PM to 6 PM and Saturday, November 11, from Noon to 1 PM at Williamson & Sons Funeral Home at 8852 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379. The funeral service will be held at 1:30 PM, also at Williamson & Sons Funeral Home. Following the chapel service, a short graveside service will be held at Hamilton Memorial Gardens, 5401 Hwy 153, Hixson, TN 37343.
Flowers will be accepted, or donations may be made in Paul’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.williamsonandsons.com.
Arrangements are by Williamson and Sons Funeral Home, 8852 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379.