Arthur Ray Shepherd
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Kenneth R. Grice on October 1, 2013:
As I was driving through Detroit recently, I was going past Arthur's (Art) boyhood neighborhood. I was reminded of so many memories I had the pleasure sharing with Art. Then today I saw the announcement of the October classmates who have gone onto a higher calling, and Art was on the list. And I remembered. Art was so dearly lovely by his family and friends. He was always happy, and willing to do anything for a friend in need.
Art, Bob Mentel, and I were three of the group from Detroit that headed for West Point in 1962. We boarded the airplane for the first time in our lives headed for two days in New York City prior to R-Day. Bob Mentel had it all arranged: a great hotel, a tour of the city, a Yankee Baseball game, and an appearance on the Tonight Show. Then the bus ride from Port Authority to meet up with our families at the Hotel Thayer prior to joining the Corps.
Art had a great faith and a great voice, and combined them by singing in the Plebe Glee Club and the Cadet Chapel Choir. In different regiments Plebe Year we did not see much of each other until Christmas. Compared Plebe stories and promised to re-connect as we headed back to Detroit in the summer. That month vacation in Detroit allowed us to double date a few times and I was convinced that he had his future bride all picked out. I was wrong. Back to Camp Buckner together and a few more double dates. He was a handsome charming fellow.
After graduation, marriage and separate duty assignments took us in very different directions. Art proceeded to resign from the Army, and started a new career with a strong growing company. I remained in the Army, and followed a path that brought me and my family back to teach at West Point. One very dramatic night in early October 1979 a fierce storm was pounding the East coast and up into the Hudson Valley and the boarding areas of New York and Connecticut. I can still remember that evening and saying to my wife that this was a very unnerving situation. The next morning, we found out that Art and three other members from his company were on a private company jet flying right across the Hudson River from West Point. The plane had a violent crash and all were killed upon impact.
We all lost a dear friend and a great young man. God Bless you Art as you wait for your friends in Heaven. Your friend and classmate, Ken Grice
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