Thomas James Sheppard III (Jim), 84 years of age, passed away on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. On November 28, 1935, Jim was born in Lawton, Ok, to Thomas James Sheppard II and Ora Louise Bible Sheppard.
On August 27, 1954, Jim married the love of his life, Barbara Gail Berry. After high school, Jim worked for a grocery store delivering groceries around southwest Oklahoma. Jim then worked as a Wheat Harvester in Oklahoma and Nebraska. In 1955 Jim started his career with Haliburton in Duncan, Ok. On January 1, 1956, Jim was transferred to the Farmington, NM area. After 25 years of service, Jim retired from Haliburton as a Field Operations Supervisor. After retirement, Jim began following his dream of aviation, working for Four Corners Aviation until 1976. Jim, and his partners, Garth Greenlee and Morris Wilson, purchased Gallup Flying Service in 1976. The following year, Jim bought out his partners and became the sole owner of the business. In 1996, to better serve his community, Jim started Gallup Med Flight. In 2010, the Fire and Aviation Management, Southwest Region presented Jim with a special award for Outstanding Service Providing Aircraft for Air Tactical, Recon, and Ferry of Firefighters for many years (1970-2009). The following year, 2011, Jim was given the Bob White Award for 50 years of Distinguish Service in Aviation for the State of New Mexico. After serving Gallup and the Navajo Nation, Jim retired in 2011. In total, he was President of Gallup Flying Service for 35 years and President of Gallup Med Flight for 15 years.
In his retirement, Jim enjoyed farming, cruises, family vacations, reading, watching westerns, and spending time with his family and friends. Jim was known for his quick wit, sense of humor, work ethic: never missing a day of work, his love of flying, and his generous nature. Jim believed in the importance of education, encouraging his family in their studies. He enjoyed math, and at the age of 84, Jim could still do multiplication faster than a calculator.
Jim is proceeded in death by his parents, Thomas James Sheppard II and Ora Louise Bible Sheppard. Jim is survived by his wife Barbara, sister Janet Richeson of Altus, Ok, brother Charles Sheppard of Ashville, NC, son Thomas James Sheppard IV (Stephanie), daughters Dianna Gayle Nunn (Rocky) and Susan Renee Dove (Russell). Jim was also blessed with five grandsons; Thomas James Sheppard V, Judson Robeson, Joshua Nunn, Daniel Nunn, Cody Nunn, along with four granddaughters; Carrie McDonald, Erin Wild, Alicia Sheppard, and Jillian Aragon as well as 21 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers will be Thomas Sheppard, Judson Robeson, Josh Nunn, Daniel Nunn, Cody Nunn, and Felipe Aragon. Honorary Pallbearers include Garth Greenlee, Wayne Hunter, Mike Brown, Jay Richeson, Tommy Richeson, Rob Menapace, Nelson Chee, Mike Moore, Ron Beck, John Johnson, and Larry Bahe.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Bethel Baptist Church in Aztec, NM. HE DID NOT DIE OF COVID!!