Jesse Burnett Shepherd, Jr. was not just your ordinary son, brother, husband father, uncle, cousin, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. He never hesitated to assist and serve others without asking anything in return. In short, he was ordinary, but very extraordinary. He loved family and was fondly called “Chachee” by his maternal cousins. Most importantly, Jesse loved and adored Carolyn, his children, his grandchildren, and the rest of his family.
Jesse was born December 29, 1946 in Grapeland, Texas to the union of Jesse Burnett Shepherd, Sr. and Annie Mae Dickerson Shepherd. He was the oldest of the four children born to this union. He was further blessed to have seven other siblings.
“Love begins in a moment, grows over time, and lasts for eternity.” It was by no accident that Jesse and Carolyn became lifelong soul mates. The two “love birds” met in 1967 at Prairie View A&M University. These two hearts began as on in 1970 and with their faith in God and love for each other, withstood the test of time for 47 years. They affectionately referred to each other as “The wind beneath each other’s wing.”
He accepted Christ at Greater New Hope Baptist Church in the Dailey Community in Grapeland, Texas. He joined Rising Star Baptist Church in Texas City, Texas and later united with First Baptist Church Greens Bayou and Amana Church in Houston, Texas. It was at Christian Tabernacle Church under the leadership of Pastor Richard Heard, where Jesse found his true purpose in serving. He was a dedicated member of the Usher Board; a leader, counselor, and teacher of Awana Club for children and did many other projects that contributed to the success of other church programs.
Jesse attended elementary and high school in Grapeland, graduating from W.R. Banks High School (’65) in a class of 16 graduating seniors (8 girls/ 8 boys). He attended Prairie View A&M University graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology. He was a member of PV Army ROTC, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, and a graduate member of Rho Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
After graduationm Jesse was recruited by Union Carbide Corporation in Texas City as a Process Technologist. He later was employed as a Labratory Analyst at GAF Corporation in Texas City. From 1976 to 2013, Jesse worked at Lyondell/Basell as a Laboratory Analyst and Supervisor until he retired.
Jesse enjoyed the outdoors and loved hunting, fishing, and working in the fields with his tractors bailing hay. He was an avid sports fan but he was passionate about his Dallas Cowboys and his Astros. He especially loved going to the games with his sons. He loved building things and if he felt it was practical, he would draw it on paper and make it. This included headstones for his family cemetery, church signs, platforms for his brother-in-laws recliners, construction and repair work for neighbors, family, and friends. For over 25 years, Jesse was known as the “barbeque master” for the Shepherd family reunions. Jesse’s southern friend chicken was legendary and in demand by his Usher brothers. A little known fact was that, like his brother Gerald who passed in 2011, Jesse was a jokester and loved to make other people laugh.
He leaves in God’s care his wife Carolyn; three sons: Cederic Bernard Shepherd (Jamie), Jason Kennard Shepherd (Kimberly), Reginald Phipps (Demetra); one daughter: Jessica Dawn Shepherd; Goddaughter: Rayshell Linscomb; Grandchildren: Chloe Simone Shepherd, Ethan Jabrel Shepherd, Madison Sade Shepherd, Brandon Phillips and Corbin Phelps; Brothers: Lonnie Shepherd, Philip Shepherd, and Thaddeus Shepherd (Angela); Sisters; Hazel Thorpe (Peter), Sandra Shepherd, Rosie Shepherd, Vernell Whitfield, Bernadine McGee and Elizabeth Shepherd; Brothers-in-law: Rev. Neal Nutall, Jr. (Willie), Robert E. Kennard, Sr. (Joyce), Charles Kennard, Jarvis Kennard (Gurtha), Larry Kennard (carolyn); Sister-in-law: Helen Winder (James) and many other treasured relatives, church members, and friends.