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Donald Earle Sheppard, 1944-2021

Donald Earle Sheppard, 77, of Lakeland, Florida, passed away Thursday, October 14, 2021, at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 33 years, Ann (Muffet) Sheppard, his brother, David Sheppard, and his parents, Albert John and Jennie Deborah Moore Sheppard, and stepfather Omar “Pops” Williams.

Don is survived by his daughters, Teresa Kauf Booth of Woburn, Massachusetts, and Trinity Sheppard Herrera (Julio) of Jacksonville, Florida, his stepchildren, Melissa Patton Kendrick of Jacksonville, Florida, Shannon Patton (Pam) of Naples, Florida, Kelly Bozeman of Naples, Florida, Amy Bozeman of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Beau Bozeman (Kimberly) of Goshen, Alabama. He also is survived by his nephew, Scott Sheppard (Tammy) of Lake Wales, Florida, his grandchildren, Ian and Lily Spinks (Trinity), Cody and Carley Bozeman (Beau), and Joshua and Lindsey Patton (Shannon), and his great nephew and niece, Miles and Lillian Sheppard (Scott).

Don was born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1944, but spent most of his youth in Lake Wales, Florida. Don enlisted in the United States Navy in December 1962, after graduating from Lakes Wales High School.

Early into his Naval career, he served as an Electrician’s Mate, working up to Assistant Chief Engineer and tug electrician, in Mayport, Florida. He eventually got promoted to Chief Electrician’s Mate. In August of 1963, he volunteered for submarine duty. He served in the Vietnam War and received many commendations/medals during his career including: the Navy Expeditionary medal, National Defense Service medal, Vietnam Service medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal, Good Conduct Award with four stars, and the Navy Achievement medal. After 20 years of dedicated service to his country, Don retired in 1982 as a Chief Petty Officer.

He eventually returned to his boyhood home of Lake Wales, Florida, where he met the lady who would eventually become his wife of more than 30 years, Muffet. He earned his BS degree in Business Management from Webber College in 1989.

Don and Muffet lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Dothan, Alabama, and finally settled in Lakeland, Florida. It was important to them to be exactly between Amy, Beau, and Trinity to the north, and Kelly and Shannon to the south.

Don was fiercely patriotic, proud, and always ready to share a great story from his Navy days. He never stopped being a salty dog.

Don and Muffet will be interred together at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida, in the Spring of 2022.


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