Billy Joe Shepherd Jr.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Billy Joe Shepherd Jr., 40, of Nevada, Mo., was taken from this world on June 14, 2015, at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo.

Bill was born on April 13, 1975, to Reta Newton and Bill Shepherd Sr. He always had a big heart, and became a caregiver at a young age to his younger brothers and sister. He also became a provider, working outside of the home starting in early childhood and helping to pay bills with his earnings.

He graduated from Nevada High School in 1993 and Missouri Welding Institute in 1995. He moved his family to Nebraska in 1996 and began his career as a traveling welder that same year. He had two sons, Zachary Taylor, born in 1994, and Zane Ivan, born in 1997, with first wife Shawn Hiestand. The boys were the light of his life, and he worked to ensure their happiness and security to his dying day.

The Shepherd family moved back to Nevada in 2000, and Bill continued to travel and work as a union boilermaker in an attempt to provide everything his family needed so that they would never have to know financial struggles, even though it meant missing large portions of his boys' childhoods.

Bill was a member of the Local 83 Boilermaker's Union out of Kansas City. He and the men were truly family, and maintained a strict code of confidentiality through the "boilermaker hotline" that sustained him through many of life's setbacks. He was proud to be a member of that brotherhood.

Although Bill had a quick temper and never backed down from a fight, he cared about everyone he met and would give his last dollar to a stranger if he thought it would help in any way. He was fiercely loyal and just as stubborn. Being the man of the house from a young age meant that he wasn't able to participate in high school sports, so as an adult, Bill paid the fees for countless young athletes so that every child would have the chance to participate and succeed. He also provided a fishing hole and meals to countless children throughout the years.

Bill found his peace while fishing. It was the place where he could let go of his stressors and find himself.

Survivors include his longtime companion, Jennifer Novak, of the home; two sons, Zane Shepherd of Nevada, and Zachary Shepherd and fiancÚ, Blayne Hendrix, of Nevada; one grandson, Jack Shepherd of Nevada; his mother, Reta Newton Carpenter and stepfather, Daniel Carpenter, of Nevada; a brother, Eric Shepherd of Springfield; a sister, Amanda Bump of Nevada; and a brother, Cory Phillips of Nevada. He also had numerous half siblings, nieces and nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his beloved grandmother, Rosie Newton; his uncle, Albert "Sonny" Newton; and his aunt, Theresa Robertson.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, June 18, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with Pastor Jerry Pyle officiating. Interment will follow in Moore Cemetery, Nevada. Friends may call now until the hour of service and the family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 17, at the funeral home.

Contributions are suggested in his memory to the Nevada Youth Wrestling Club, or to any child who needs money for camp or a uniform or a second chance in care of Ferry Funeral Home.

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