A.F. Sheppard passed away on Nov. 9, 2012, at Aurora Medical Center in
Hartford, as a result of health complications following an accident.
Tom was born on Sept. 3, 1929, in Kingsclere, England to Albert and Anne
(Hutchins) Sheppard. He was united in marriage to Pamela Heavens on
March 26, 1955.
Tom had a lifelong love of aviation. As an Air Cadet for the British
Home Front during World War II, Tom listened to Gen. Eisenhower give his
speech to the glider pilots on the eve of D-Day in June 1944. Tom served
in the British Royal Navy as a test pilot for early jet fighters. After
leaving the military, Tom and Pam moved to Canada where Tom worked as a
technical writer in the aircraft industry. Career changes eventually
brought the family to West Bend, where Tom became involved in hot air
ballooning which became a passion for the rest of his life.
In 1973, Tom began flying hot air balloons in competition events. He
soon became involved as an event official and is known internationally
for his expertise in balloon safety, competition rules and running
competitive balloon events. Tom was event director for National Hot Air
Balloon Championships in the USA and Canada. He was the event director
for two World Hot Air and a World Gas Balloon Championship. For more
than 30 years, Tom was event director at weekend balloon events around
the Midwest and the world including 24 years at The Wisconsin Dells
Tom received many honors during the years for his work in ballooning, on
state, national and international levels. In 2010, he was inducted into
the U.S. National Ballooning Hall of Fame. In 2012, Tom was inducted
into the International Ballooning Hall of Fame.
Until the time of his death, Tom was active in the daily operations of
Sheppard Spaeth Associates, selling test equipment and software to the
telecom and cable TV industries.
Tom is survived by his wife, Pamela, and their children, Jane Perez
(Rich German) and Andrew Sheppard (Kelly May), his grandchildren, Amanda
(Mitch) Dougherty, Abbey Perez, Jake Perez, Nathan Sheppard and Nolan
Sheppard, his great-granddaughter, Ava Dougherty, his brother, Joe
Sheppard of England and his brother-in-law, Tony (Edith) Heavens of
Canada, as well as nieces and nephews. Tom is also survived by his
business partner and family friend, Debbie Spaeth.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws, Edward and Elsie
Heavens, his sister, Gwen Sheppard -Heavens, and his sister-in-law, Gaye
A memorial service for Tom will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m.
at St. James Episcopal Church, 148 S. Eighth Ave., West Bend. Visitation
will be at the church from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial
of the cremated remains will follow in the St. James Columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. James Episcopal Church or the
charity of your choice would be appreciated.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to doctor and friend
Rajesh Trivedi for his excellent care, and the ICU and Med-Surgical
nurses at Hartford Aurora Medical Center for their special care and
Myrhum – Patten Funeral & Cremation Service, West Bend, is assisting the
family. Online condolences may be expressed at