Joan was born in Harvey, Ill., to Roy and Josephine Willson on July 31, 1936. She graduated from Loretto Academy in Chicago in 1954 and shortly after joined the foreign service and served in Washington, D.C., and abroad, where she would meet the love of her life. She married Staff Sgt. Russell Harvey Sheppard on Jan. 6, 1961, in Bangkok, Thailand while both serving foreign assignments.
Their love was a love that traveled the world: India, Philippines, Vietnam, England and Germany and across many states in the United States. She was a proud Air Force wife and loved every adventure it took them on. While stationed at Travis AFB, Russ retired from the Air Force in 1977 and called Suisun City home while taking a job at Anheuser Busch and the Suisun City Fire Department until their retirement and moving to Oroville, Calif., in 1998.
She lived the retired life filled with road trips in the Model A, crafting and spending time with her friends in the quilting guild. She passed away peacefully Jan. 27, 2014, surrounded by those who loved her. Joan was often called Mutti or Mickey, but the names that meant the most to her were honey, mama and nanny. She had a way of curing all our problems with just the sound of her voice and a hug that lasted hours. We will miss everything about her like her smile, her deep laugh and the way her eyes could light up a room. She will be forever missed.
She leaves behind the love of her life of 53 years, Russell of Oroville; her daughter, Cynthia Sheppard of Dixon; and her granddaughter, Meagan Gilbert of Dixon; and many friends who are like family.
She joins her son, Timothy “Shep” Sheppard of Fairfield, who passed away in 2005.
We would like to thank Iris Care Home (Nickoletta, Wendy and Tanya) in Oroville for treating our Nanny (and our family) with dignity and love as she battled dementia these last two years.
A graveside service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road, Dixon, Calif., 95620.