Thomas A.F. Sheppard, 83


Thomas 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 Balloon Rally.

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 Sheppard.

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 kindness.

Myrhum Patten Funeral & Cremation Service, West Bend, is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.myrhumpatten.com.