Life Story Visitation
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Home
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.
Life Story Service
A reception will be held in the Life Story Center immediately following the service.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
3501 Covington Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can surely attest, Ronald Shepard truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength and encouragement for others, even in the most difficult of times. Nothing brought Ron greater joy than spending time with his loved ones. He was well known for the solid work ethic that would serve him well for his entire life, and his serving spirit allowed him to touch the hearts of countless others. Forever loved, Ron will be dearly missed by those who knew him best.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young servicemen and women had answered the call to serve during WWII. Those who remained stateside patiently waited for the latest news from the front lines while rationing on common goods became a way of life. It was during this eventful time that Donald and Edna (Bowser) Shepard proudly announced the birth of the baby boy they named Ronald on August 15, 1944, in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Growing up, Ron was a typical young man of his generation. He was raised in the family home as the second of eight children. Ron’s father was both a successful entrepreneur and the mayor of McClure, Ohio. Donald was an orphan who came from Ireland, and Ron was always proud of his Irish heritage. Meanwhile, Ron’s mother dedicated herself to remaining close to home and caring for her children. Throughout his childhood, Ron grew to be very close with his siblings, Vicki, Don, Sandy, Debbie, Kim, Sue, and Tina. He had a special bond with his younger brother, Don, and they were known to get into their fair share of mischief together as teenagers. Just like many children growing up during that era, Ron wanted to be a cowboy as a boy. He loved reading Louis L’Amour novels throughout his life. Ron also became interested in engineering and tinkering with things.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Ron as he met the woman who would become his first wife. Her name was Barbara Heinze, and the two were married in 1966. Though the marriage would go on to end in divorce, Ron was always grateful for the years they shared and for the two beautiful daughters, Dana and Ericka, that they raised together.
All who knew Ron can certainly agree that, of all the things Ron loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. He was so proud to become a father to Dana and Ericka, and he always did his best to raise his daughters into kind and hardworking individuals. Ron taught Dana and Ericka the value of a good education, along with the importance of never giving up on their dreams and goals. He always encouraged his family members to strive for success. Whenever his daughters made mistakes, Ron was compassionate and understanding. He made sure that they could drive a standard transmission and that no special privileges were given to them when they began working at the factory. Ron was very protective of his daughters. Later in life, he was thrilled to become a grandfather and even a great-grandfather as well. Ron adored his grandchildren and doted on them whenever he could. He always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Later on, Ron was fortunate to meet a remarkable woman named Peggy Roberts. The two enjoyed each others company very much, and their relationship quickly blossomed into something truly wonderful. Ron was ever the romantic and chivalrous gentleman with Peggy. He would hold her hand while they walked, keep an arm around her, and open doors for her, always being kind and considerate. In the presence of family and friends, Ron and Peggy were happily married on November 4, 2006.
In order to support himself and his family, Ron was never afraid to work hard and do whatever needed to be done. At the age of 17, he began working at a plastics company as the material handler. Ron eventually worked his way into management and later ownership of the company. He would spend his entire career manufacturing precision injection-molded and electromechanical components, specifically created for the global automotive industry, in a state of the art facility. He went on to co-own Engineered Plastic Components, Western Diversified Plastics, and EPS. Ron was a very involved boss who was loyal to his employees and took an interest in their lives outside of the work environment. He truly cared about his employees, and since he had once worked every job at the factory himself he saw no job as insignificant or unimportant.
Never one to like sitting still for long, Ron pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He enjoyed playing golf and living on the lake. Ron’s love of cars followed him throughout his entire life. He went on to own a total of fifteen cars, including a 1938 Ford Coupe, 1949 Ford, 1952 Plymouth Wagon, 1957 pink Thunderbird, 1960 Triumph, 1965 red Thunderbird, 1965 copper Barracuda, 1965 Barracuda, 1969 Barracuda with a 440 motor, 1987 AC Cobra, and 1 of only 2,500 2002 Lincoln Blackwood Trucks. Ron liked to travel around the world to locations such as Jamaica, Napa Valley, and various places in Europe. His favorite vacation spot was Key West. Ron was known to enjoy a good glass of wine, a hot cup of coffee, and Crème Brulee. He served his community by acting as a big brother for a couple of young kids, and he also gave generously to the United Way.
When reflecting on the life of Ronald Shepard, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was a true gentleman with a sharp sense of humor and wit, and he was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Ron was proud to watch his family tree grow to include so many loved ones. He poured his heart and soul into all that he did. Though he will be deeply missed, Ron leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
Ronald F. Shepard, age 78, of Mattawan died on Saturday, September 10, 2022. Members of his family include his wife Peggy; his 2 children: Dana (Todd) Bartholomew, Ericka Shepard; 1 Grandchild: Raven Myers; 2 step children: Scott Maberry, Pamela Keller; 2 step grandchildren: Douglas (Emily) Maberry, Amber Maberry; 2 great step grandchildren: Scarlett and Jackson; and his brothers and sisters. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks and stories will be shared on Wednesday (Sep 14) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Life Story Services will be held at 11 AM on Thursday (Sep 15) at the same location. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. Visit Ron’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan or the United Way.