Former state representative and current county commissioner David Shepard, who was a pharmacist and Vietnam War veteran, died last Thursday from cancer. He was 73.
“David Shepard was a public servant in the truest terms,” Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial said in an emailed statement. “He served in many positions representing the citizens of our community. This county is better today for all of his works. However, the best work was what he did as a friend to so many of us. He will be missed by all. I will miss my friend.”
State Rep. Michael Curcio, a Republican, represents District 69 in the Tennessee House of Representatives, the seat held by Shepard, a Democrat, from 2000 until his retirement in 2016. Shepard was a strong advocate for education, health, mental health and veterans care, according to his obituary from Taylor Funeral Home.
“Tennessee lost a fine man, a humanitarian, a Bronze Star veteran, and a Tennessee legislator,” Curcio wrote in a social media post. “David Shepard was a tremendous human being and someone I was proud to call a friend. He will be missed.”
Shepard also served on the Dickson City Council from 1977 to 1989 (the last 10 years also serving as vice mayor), and was elected to the Dickson County Commission in 2018. His death creates a vacancy in District 9 on the commission, as members are elected to four-year terms.
According to a statement released by the City of Dickson, Shepard served on local boards for many years including Bank of Dickson, Dickson Community Clinic, Clement Railroad Hotel Museum and the Jackson Foundation.
“I have known David and the Shepard family my entire life,” Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. said in a statement. “I had the privilege of serving with David my first two years on the Dickson City Council. I will always cherish my time working with David on city projects, but most of all will miss his friendship and spending many hours on the golf course together.”
“He will be remembered as a great community leader, but most of all as the perfect example of a son, brother, husband, father and grandfather.”
A private family service was held Feb. 7, with burial in Dickson Union Cemetery. A celebration of life event was to be scheduled at a later date.
Shepard was born in Hickman County on Oct. 6, 1947, and moved to Dickson County when his father, M.O. Shepard, was named UT Extension Agent for Dickson County.
After graduating from Dickson High School in 1965 he attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he played baseball. After graduating from college and ROTC in 1969 he served in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star with Valor.
Shepard met his wife, Martha, in pharmacy school in 1971. They married three years later.
David and Martha bought Hamdorff Pharmacy in Dickson in 1981, renaming it Dickson Apothecary. David also worked for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Nashville for 22 years counseling veterans and was the first certified clinical pharmacist in the VA system.
He was appointed to the UT Board of Trustees by then-Gov. Bill Haslam in 2017.