ANDREW DESMOND SHEPPARD
(26 September, 1922 - 20 May, 1991)
An Appreciation written by Andrew’s seven children
delivered at his Service of Thanksgiving by his brother-in-law, Harry St. Hill.
A LOVER - He loved life; he loved people
A FIGHTER – He fought for what he believed in
A FRIEND – Nothing was too much for him to do for you
A HUSBAND – Faithful, devoted
A FATHER – We thank God for giving him to us
Not a sportsman, not a wealthy entrepreneur, but an entertainer whose stage was life; an artist of living beings – brimming with love and sympathy. His presence brought warmth and the glow of sunshine. He made his influence felt. Andy was genial, positive, confident and the eternal optimist.
As a handsome young officer of The Royal Engineer Corps of The British Army in Trinidad, Andy came to Barbados in 1942 on vacation. He was affectionately nicknamed “Tyrone” because he bore a striking resemblance to the movie idol of the day, Tyrone Power. On that occasion, he met 16 year old Betty St. Hill, who was rehearsing her tap-dance routine for a Sky High show. Love at first sight it was, not only for Betty and Andy, but for the entire St. Hill family who welcomed him warmly as both son and brother. It was the start of a life-long romance, for the following year they were married and their union of 48 years produced seven children and 17 grandchildren.
As a father and husband, he could not possibly have provided a more secure and safe home for his children to grow up in. Never did we have to worry about Andy and Betty falling apart; the thought never crossed our minds. This was the cornerstone of the foundation of the house that Andrew built. A house of honesty. We have never known a more honest man. He respected the law and his integrity was unquestioned. He was a Christian in the truest sense as he was kind and generous to a fault. He always went over and above his call of duty to go the extra mile, often to the detriment of his health.
In 1984 he was appointed the Honorary Consul for Peru – a post which he considered a great honour and accepted with much pride.
Growing up as the tenth child in a family of twelve taught Andy many lessons about the value of family life. He held the greatest love and respect for “Mama”, his mother who was widowed when he was only eight, yet held her large family of six boys and six girls together with amazing fortitude. He adopted his mother’s philosophy which were words of wisdom from the Bible . . . “and it came to pass”. This meant “bear with it – things will get better”.
Andy was a charmer – a gentleman in every sense of the word, and always the life of the party with his unforgettable repertoire of jokes. In his younger days and even at his 60th birthday party, Andy liked to perform his famous party trick. This was a handstand done on a chair which was balanced precariously on four Coca-Cola bottles. He went through life like that – always balancing and amazingly making it – despite the odds.
Andy was a man of great emotion - very passionate. He felt things to the bottom of his soul. He passed that on to his children. He loved music and took pride in fostering his children’s and grandchildren’s abilities, talents and ambitions. His constant source of joy was to listen to his Bets play the piano. We will always think of him as “The Leader of the Band.”
Andrew Sheppard was so brave, so positive – we never truly understood how serious was his condition and how deep his pain. He put on his best face and smiled as he left us – unsure of the future yet true to character, hoping for the best. He felt secure in the knowledge that he had a strong and united family. A family he loved so deeply and a family who loved him so very, very much. His passion for life will live on and he will be deeply missed by everyone upon whose life he touched.
Andrew's Musings & Memoirs
My father was the tenth child in the Sheppard family of twelve children. His father died when he was just 8 years old, so for the most part, he grew up being nurtured by his mother, older siblings and their beloved Bertha. The most important thing in his life was his family.
Anyone who knew Andrew Sheppard would remember that he was quite the raconteur, and seemed to have an endless supply of jokes to tell, imitating all kinds of accents in the most amusing way. His effervescent personality and joie de vivre endeared him to everyone he met.
What we didn't realize until after he was gone, was his gift for writing. We discovered a folder full of beautifully handwritten stories, penned between October 1986 and August 1990 - just nine months before his untimely passing. Daddy wrote as he lived - from the heart and with passion. His tributes to his mother and siblings overflow with love and respect. We are so grateful that he recorded his early life and background, as well as his thoughts and deep feelings on current affairs in his beloved islands of Trinidad and Barbados during those years. Between the lines of these yellow foolscap pages we have the gift of a lifetime, and we are so grateful for this legacy.
These are some of our treasured pages, and more will be added as I continue to transcribe them. My father labelled the folder of his writings:
TALES OF ANDREW
October 1986 Bertha, A Saint
January 1988 Elsie Mabel, Our Mother
January 1988 Look Out!
February 1988 No. 30 Richmond Street, Port of Spain
July 1988 "Morne Jaloux" - Grenada
July 1988 Times of our Lives
July 1988 "Belmont" - Barbados
October 1988 Vin (In Memoriam - George Vincent Gonsalves)
March 1989 Respect
April 1989 Don Pedro de Roy - from Portugal to Trinidad
April 1989 The Late Great Bridgetown
July 1989 From Portugal to Trinidad - Part 1
August 1989 Boysie (In Memoriam -Joseph Alfred Sheppard)
October 1989 June Stand By - October All Over?
October 1989 Bertie (In Memoriam - Charles Albert Sheppard)
January 1990 Hello, Look Who's Here - Welcome!
August 1990 Lest We Forget - Trinidad
Lt. Andrew D. Sheppard and Frances Elizabeth (Betty) St. Hill
31 July, 1943 - Barbados
Betty and Andrew - newlyweds in Trinidad
Video memories of Andrew
captured on Super 8 Film and digitized
Maracas Bay, Trinidad - around 1964
Andrew about to walk into the sea on his hands to amuse his children
My father's burial place is fittingly at the Military Cemetery, Barbados.
"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." ~ Alex Haley