On the afternoon of September 13, 2018, our wonderful wife, mother, mom, ga-ma, grandma and friend Penny Shepherd passed away at a local hospital after a short, courageous battle with an awful, virulent form of ovarian cancer. Her family was with her when she passed and she was very peaceful.
Born in Pendleton, Ore., at St. Anthony’s hospital on April 7, 1951, she was the fourth of five children born to Robert and Suzanne Spike. She was raised on the family ranch south of Echo, Ore., in an area called Echo Meadows. She attended school in Echo and graduated in 1969.
She spent one year at Blue Mountain Community College then attended Oregon State University majoring in K-12 education. She received her BA degree in 1973 and returned to Echo, where she obtained a teaching job at A.C. Houghton Elementary School. While at OSU she met her future husband Ray in late October 1970 when he called her dorm wing looking for another girl and Penny answered the phone. They spent almost two hours on the phone, met the next day for coffee and tea and the rest, as they say, is history.
Penny and Ray were married in Hermiston, Ore., on October 10, 1973, her parent’s 33rd anniversary. They lived apart for a time because her husband had accepted a position with the Oregon State Police and his closest option for a stationing was The Dalles. Penny moved to The Dalles at the end of the 1974-75 school year and the couple called The Dalles home from that time forward. Her first teaching position in The Dalles area was in Dufur, Ore., where she was a elementary teacher in kindergarten, fourth grade, and a couple of others for several years. Moving to Joseph G. Wilson School started her career with then District 12, now District 21. When Wilson school closed she transferred to Dry Hollow Elementary School and remained there until she retired in 2007.
Their two children, Jodi (1979) and Mindi (1981), were born in The Dalles and graduated from The Dalles High School prior to going to college. She was very, very proud of their children and more or less doted on them right to the end. In March 2016 their first grandchild, Maisie Maurice Spike Shepherd, was born to Mindi in Thailand. Penny traveled to Bangkok for the birth and accompanied them back to the USA. To say that she and Ray are head over heels in love with wonderful little Maisie is a vast understatement.
Penny is survived by her husband Ray, daughters Jodi Shepherd and Mindi Spike Shepherd, both of Chico, Calif., and, of course, Maisie. Also surviving are her brothers Robert M. (Mike) Spike and wife Pat, Gresham, Greg Spike and wife Linda of Eugene, and brother Jeff Spike of Echo. She was predeceased by her parents, and older sister Patty Grossmiller. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and cousins and their spouses, not to mention all the students she touched over the years. Occasionally she would bump into one of her students who would proceed to tell her how much they enjoyed her as a teacher and how she shaped their lives. Several would say that she was their favorite teacher. She would comment how that made her feel old but deep inside she was smiling.
Per her request, no flowers please. A GoFundMe account has been set up in her name to be used as a college fund for Maisie. Penny also requested that donations be made to Home At Last Animal Shelter in The Dalles. Either one is fine and her family thanks you in advance for any donations made.
An informal no-host gathering will be held on Sept. 22, 2018, at The Dalles Country Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Snack food will be provided and a full menu is available if preferred. There will be no formal viewing or service.
She will be interred at Willamette National Cemetery at a later date in a private ceremony.