November 3, 1884 - January 14, 1946
|Claude F. Sheppard was horn in Codeville, Ouachita Parish, La., November 3, 1884. He was the son of an honored member of this Conference, Rev. Benjamin H. Sheppard, and grew up in the environment of the holy atmosphere of a happy parsonage family. His father was my pastor in my early youth. Our pastor and his family were frequent visitors to our home and we often in theirs. While Claude was older than I, we were together much. He was brilliant in his studies, and an inspiration to the youth of the town and school. When he was graduated from Haynesville high school with highest honors, his valedictory oration was so masterfully delivered that the audience was electrified and held spellbound. Everyone who knew him predicted for him a great future.
Claude entered the Louisiana State University, where he pursued his college studies. While there he felt the growing conviction that his life work must need be in the ministry of the church, which nurtured and introduced him to the Savior. So he announced his committal to that calling.
December, 1907, he was admitted on Trial into the Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He, served his appointments and pursued his studies well, and in due time was admitted into Full Connection with the Conference, and ordained Deacon and Elder in the years 1909 and 1911 respectively. Because of his physical condition he was transferred to the Oklahoma Conference in search of a more favorable climate in which to work. While there he served the Duke circuit and a church in Oklahoma City. He returned to the Louisiana Conference in the fall of 1916 and was assigned to the Gibsland Circuit. From that time until his retirement he served appointments where the work was hard and the emoluments attached thereto were small. His family was forced to suffer many hardships, and he had a mighty struggle to meet the needs of his family and to battle against the devil on all sides. His fath.er used often to quote: “Jordan am a hard road to travel,” and he traveled that road to the end. He was obedient to the order of the church, and like a good soldier, went where he was sent, to labor and suffer hardships that must needs be to carry the gospel of his blessed Savior to build up the faith among the believers and to convert the sinners.
November 16, 1910, he and Miss Jessie M. Selser were united in holy wedlock. To this union were born children, two of ‘whom now survive—Mrs. J. P. Durham, Sr., Atlanta, Ga., and Lt. Benjamin Candler Sheppard in the armed service of his country. Claude Sheppard was a faithful husband and a sympathetic and devoted father, and a loyal minister in the church to which he devoted his life, having given 86 years in the active relationship.
Because of impaired health, and under the advice of a physician, Claude F. Sheppard was relieved of the pastoral care of the church at Olla, La., and at the Annual Conference session in November, 1943, he was retired. After a short time spent with his daughter in Atlanta, Ga., he moved with his wife to Shreveport, La., where be found employment in the Revenue Department of the State of Louisiana, and maintained that business relationship until his death, Jan. 14, 1946.
There remain to mourn his passing his wife, a son and a daughter, his dear mother, Mrs. B. H. Sheppard, several sisters and a brother and other loved ones. To all these we, his brethren in the ministry, offer our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for their spiritual comfort. To these we say: “Be of good courage; fear not, for our heavenly Father has promised to strengthen and uphold us by the right hand of his power.” May God give you faith to believe “that he is able to keep that, which is committed to him.”
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 103-104, 1946 by Sidney A. Seegers.|