Austin Linwood Shepherd, 94, of Monterey passed away Thursday, February 24, 2022 at the Legacy of North Augusta.
He was born January 12, 1928 in Columbia, son of the late David Wiley and Elizabeth (Seay) Shepherd.
Austin spent his formative years on the family farm in Fluvanna County where he learned how to work hard by helping his father raise tobacco, tomatoes for a cannery, chickens, cattle and a plethora of crops. It was manual labor with the aid of a mule and horse. He attended Fork Union Military Academy, a one-year requirement, and graduated from Fluvanna County High School. His “gap year” after high school was a U.S. Navy enlistment for two years where he served as a Seaman First Class during WWII. In addition, he spent five years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. After the Navy stint, he earned an Agricultural Degree at Virginia Tech and Masters Degree from North Carolina State. He began his professional career as the manager of Belvedere Farm in Fredericksburg and teaching ag ed at Falmouth High School. Next, he served as the County Ag Extension Agent in Orange County for seven years. In 1962, he began serving as the County Ag Extension Agent in Highland County until his retirement in 1985. As a member of the Virginia and National Association of County Agricultural Agents, he received the Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, he coined the name “Virginia’s Little Switzerland” for his beloved Highland County which has become nationally known.
While residing in Highland County, Austin was very involved in and committed to the community. He was a 32-degree Mason, Shriner and blood drive coordinator with the Highland Masonic Lodge #110; a member of the Blue Grass Ruritan Club where he served in leadership positions on the local, zone and district levels; a member of the Monterey Lions Club with local, zone and district positions and a member of the VFW Post 4989 where he held local and district leadership positions. Over the years, he was President of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, a member of the Governors Manpower Council, Chairman of the Highland VEPCO Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Area Manpower Council and Secretary of the Highland County Planning Commission. He was proud to be elected to the Highland County Board of Supervisors. For many years, he was the Maple Festival Chairman and helped to develop and promote the festival; he was honored to have met many dignitaries that responded to his invitations to tour and attend the Festival. He worked with the County youth through the 4-H program and served as an adult leader at 4-H summer camp for many years. He received the 4-H All Star Award. He was an Honorary Chapter Farmer with the Highland FFA. He was a past member of the Dabney Lancaster Community College and Blue Ridge Community College Boards.
In his spare time, he was an avid golfer, hunter, and fisherman and enjoyed playing softball, bowling, attending VT football games, playing cards, gardening and cooking. He was known for his outgoing personality and quick wit. He was welcoming to all who crossed his threshold. He enjoyed interacting with children and animals, especially his beloved cat, Lucky. Above all, Austin will be fondly remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
He was a member of Columbia Memorial Baptist Church and attended Highland Baptist Church.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his daughter, Shelia Lynn Elliott; a grandson, Chad Linwood Lotts; brothers, David W. Shepherd II and Stanley G. Shepherd; step-sons, Frank and Steve Stephenson; and his first wife, Loretta (Cash) Dalton.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy “Dot” Jean (Colaw) Shepherd of Staunton; daughter, Elizabeth S. Conn of Fredericksburg; son, David W. Shepherd III of Lynchburg; grandchildren, Jesse Conn and wife, Elizabeth of Fredericksburg, Lauren Conn of Fredericksburg, William Conn and wife, Melanie of Richmond, Sarah Denise Black and husband, Dontay of Mineral, Jonathan Shepherd of Fredericksburg, as well as Shannon Gillispie and husband, Scott of Rustburg; great-grandchildren, Felicity Conn, Owen Conn, Amiah and Isaiah Black, Tyler and Dakota Gillispie; nephew, Stanley G. Shepherd, Jr of Richmond; and step-children, Somers Stephenson and husband, Steve Fullerton, Charlotte Stephenson and husband, Richard Shamrock and Thomas Stephenson, all of Monterey.
A graveside service will be held 11 a.m., Friday, March 4, 2022 in Blue Grass Cemetery with the Rev. Mark Davis officiating. The Blue Grass Ruritan Club will provide refreshments after the service at the Blue Grass Ruritan Club Building.
Active pallbearers will be his grandsons, Jesse, Will and Jonathan and members of the Masonic Lodge and the Blue Grass Ruritan Club.
The staff of Obaugh Funeral Home will receive family and friends wishing to pay their respects between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 3 at Obaugh Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 268, Monterey, VA 24465 or charity of choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Austin Linwood Shepherd, please visit our floral store.
Charity of Choice
Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad
P.O. Box 268, Monterey VA 24465