Charles Albert (Bertie) Sheppard
Bertie Sheppard - Our Brother
Written by Andrew Sheppard
Bertie was born in Trinidad on 6th August 1914 and passed away in Grenada at the St. George’s Hospital shortly after 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 13th August, 1988.
He was baptized in the Scottish Presbyterian religion, at the St. Ann’s Church of Scotland in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His name was Charles Albert Sheppard. He was the fifth child and the second son of Charles Sebastian Theodore Sheppard and Elsie Mabel née Gomez of Trinidad. I am the last (born the tenth child) of the male sex of a family of thirteen children. Our youngest brother, Arthur, died as a baby in 1928. At that time, there were six boys and six girls. Our father died in 1931 at the young age of 45.
Bertie grew up with a strong Christian upbringing and was educated at Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain, where he proved a person of exceptional ability and dedication to purpose and principle. He gained the Senior Cambridge School Certificate at the very young age of 16. Of necessity, Bertie had to seek gainful employment so as to supplement the family treasure, which was depleted after the premature death of our father. At that time, only two of the twelve children were working. Bertie was employed at one of the largest companies with diverse interests - George F. Huggins & Co. Ltd., which was founded by a young entrepreneur from St. Vincent. After graduating from Office Boy, Bertie was selected for the Stevedoring Department of Huggins & Company, which ran the largest shipping agencies, including Canadian National Steamships among several other important lines.
Bertie remained faithful and loyal to his employers from 1931 until 1961 when he was promoted from Head of the Stevedoring Department to become Manager and Managing Director of George F. Huggins & Co. Ltd., of St. Georges, Grenada, from which company he retired, to continue living in Grenada, in 1964. Bertie was employed with Huggins for a period of thirty-three years of unbroken and dedicated service.
Bertie was married to a beautiful lady when she was quite young. She was Joyce, daughter of Robert and Alice de Sousa. It was love at first sight and the couple have lived a life of bliss, love, understanding and caring from 1939, when they were married at the Grey Friars Church of Scotland in Port of Spain. They were both Presbyterians and they brought up their three children of two boys and one girl in Trinidad with a similar religious persuasion. In November 1988, they would have been married for 49 years.*
As a young man growing up in Port of Spain was not easy for ambitious Bertie, whose income was mainly contributed to the cost of raising a large family of mother, brothers and sisters of school age, but Bertie did it with flair. He was always a stylish person, from boyhood. The way he spoke and carried himself under all circumstances indicated that he was a gentleman of the highest order. With scant resources and good taste, Bertie was assimilated into the society of Trinidad with ease. He was a natural sportsman. At school he played football and cricket and afterwards became a very good hockey player. He also loved tennis. Best of all though, was his love of the sea. He loved fishing, rowing and mostly, sailing. With the help of his good friends, Eddie Symonds, Jimmy Ingles and others, he built a beautiful yacht of the “Snipe” class which won many races and provided all of us with a great deal of pleasure. When the Trinidad Volunteers required young men for military training, Bertie volunteered and rose to the rank of Corporal in the Second or Reserve Battalion of the Infantry.
Bertie and Joyce lived a happy, simple life and their interests were similar. They did the best they could for their children. Richard was champion racing cyclist of Trinidad for years until he was involved in a bad accident, which caused him, his parents, family and friends a great deal of grief, pain and expense. Bertie sent him to England for expert medical attention. Richard is now one of the best and most experienced oil drilling supervisors to be found anywhere. He is married to the former Elizabeth Nothnagel and has three children, two girls and a boy.
Kathleen, a beauty, after attaining her School Certificate in Trinidad, was sent to Secretarial School at St Godric's in England, where she graduated with first class honours. Kathleen was married to Bernard d’Abreau of Trinidad, but poor Bernard died soon after the birth of their third daughter. She eventually married Denis Henry, a lawyer and Queen’s Counsel, of Grenada, who later became Sir Denis Henry. They lived in Grenada where the three girls of the first marriage were joined by two boys of the second marriage. This period was probably one of the happiest for Bertie and Joyce. They loved their daughter and grandchildren and the feeling was mutual. when Sir Denis and Lady Henry decided to go to England to reside, it was quite a blow to Bertie and Joyce who were now left without any relatives in Grenada. They turned to gardening - his second love.
Brian lives in Trinidad and is the Managing Director of a successful finance company - Caribbean Finance Co. Ltd. He is married to the former Diana Mouttet and they have two children. Therefore, Bertie and Joyce have a total of ten grandchildren. Their beautiful home is at L'anse Aux Epines.
When Bertie and Joyce and their children lived in St. Augustine in Trinidad, their beautiful home in Carmody Road, which stood on an acre of fruit-bearing land, was the social and athletic centre of the district. Young and old congregated there to socialize, plan and discuss the interests of the day, which were mainly sporting activities. Bertie was always the Chairman, offering criticism and advice when required or requested. He loved and supported winners but tried his best to help the losers or under-dogs. He was an extremely kind person, whose charity was well known. We will never know how many unfortunate people he has assisted in a variety of ways.
Bertie joined the Masonic Lodge as a very young man and remained a member of the Prince of Wales Lodge in Trinidad until his passing. He was also a member of the Lodge in St. Georges, Grenada from the time of his transfer to Grenada up to the 13th August, 1988. He was an excellent ritualist and a very successful Master on several occasions. He attained most of the highest degrees in Free Masonry and was always regarded as a man of sterling character.
He loved to tease young people and so they loved him in return. His presence was a stimulant to otherwise dull company. Bertie had a special way about him. Everyone who knew him respected him. He turned Huggins in Grenada from a rather dull and losing operation into a viable, vibrant Company with a sensible variety of interesting innovations, including a dress shop and automobile agency. Bertie’s variety of interests were legend. He was an active community worker and helped organizations such as the Family Planning Council and the School for the Deaf, among several others. He was a member of the rotary Club and the St. George’s Club. I recently had the pleasure and privilege of meeting the Prime Minister of Grenada and told him I was Bertie Sheppard’s brother and asked him if he knew Bertie, to which he replied: “You are Bertie’s brother? Who does not know Bertie? He’s a great fellow. When last have you seen him or been to Grenada? Please come over and often. You are Bertie’s brother - most welcome!” This describes our dearly beloved brother Bertie, who has suffered silently for so long without complaining. This gracious, kind, caring and loving gentleman, father and grandfather and friend of so many adoring people, will be sorely missed by all who knew him - including his brothers and sisters.
God, please take him into your loving arms and take care of him forever.
This and much, much more from your baby brother, who loved you and admired you very much. Goodbye, dear Bertie. To Joyce, his faithful and loyal widow and his children -
Love and Peace.
Sunday 14th August, 1988 - 4.10 a.m.
* (Note: In fact, they would have had their 50th Wedding Anniversary three months later.)