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Lois Cooper Shepherd Scholarship announced

By Duane Bonifer

Lois Cooper Shepherd dedicated her life to educating Kentucky children. And now a Lindsey Wilson College endowed scholarship named in her memory will help educate future teachers for the commonwealth.

The Lois Cooper Shepherd Endowed Scholarship will provide tuition support for LWC education students. The scholarship was started in memory of Shepherd by her husband, Louis. The couple were married 66 years. Lois died May 21, 2014.

"I saw her dedication to education," said Louis, who lives in Russell County, Ky. "She was always giving everything and never kept much for herself. I wanted her to be remembered as a dedicated Christian elementary school teacher."

"She loved teaching. Her mother (Gilda) was a teacher, and she inspired her daughter and did everything she could for her to become a teacher. There was nothing that she left out. She wanted Lois to follow in her steps and she did that."

A Russell County native, Lois taught elementary school in Kentucky schools for 37 years in Barren, Christian, Jefferson and Russell counties. Louis, who grew up in Adair County, was a pastor in The United Methodist Church from 1950-2004.

From his earliest years, LWC played a part in Louis' life. His childhood home was a quarter of a mile from LWC.

"We were near enough to hear the bell that rung every time a class changed," he said. "Hearing that bell ring is one of my earliest memories."

After serving more than three years in the U.S. Army Air Corps -- including during World War II -- Louis enrolled as a ministerial student at LWC in January 1947.

"Upon on the advice of Columbia High School Principal Mary Lucy Lowe, I decided to take the GED test," Louis said. "On Jan. 15, 1947, I took that test at Lindsey Wilson and passed with two points to spare."

Later that spring, Louis' life changed again -- when he met Lois in the LWC library, which was then on the second floor of the L.R. McDonald Administration Building.

In an unpublished autobiography, Lois wrote:

"One day as I came into the library and a tall, skinny, sad-faced one pored over his books. He was dressed in a bright-colored sport shirt and was holding his 'too big' trousers up with suspenders. His straw hat was lying on the study table with his Bible and other textbooks. He was a typical country 'parson.' I spoke to him, commented on his very expensive Bible, and we got acquainted discussing it. I learned the life story of Louis W. Shepherd during the next few weeks as we sat in class together strolled over the campus, stood in line at the dining hall, and walked down to the corner drugstore for a Coke."

The two were married March 12, 1948.

"We rented an apartment near the campus and moved there immediately after we were married," Louis said. "We walked the two blocks to the college for our classes. We graduated that summer."

The Shepherds went on to attend Georgetown (Ky.) College and then to Louisville, where Louis studied for the ministry and Lois earned a master's degree in education.

Louis said his late wife was a lifelong student who was imbued with a constant thirst for learning.

"She was always a school person," he said. "If there was an extension course and she thought she needed it, she took it."

Louis said that LWC remained "one of our favorite places to be."

"I will never forget Lindsey Wilson, for it was there that I met the love of my life," he said.

This story was posted on 2015-07-29 09:23:25
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Rev. Louis W. Shepherd

2015-07-29 - Russell Co., KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer.
The Rev. Louis W. Shepherd of Russell County, KY, holds a portrait of his late wife, Lois, in whose memory he started an endowed scholarship to help LWC education majors.

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