Alastair (Al) Shepherd, who will best be remembered as an educator and principal in the Terrace area during the 1970’s and 80’s, passed away on August 5th 2016 at the Kiwanis Pavilion Residential Care home in Victoria where he had been a resident for a short time. He was born in Fossoway, Kinross, Scotland, attended prestigious Dollar Academy on a scholarship and completed his degree in education at Edinburgh University. He emigrated to Canada in 1968 and taught at Thornhill Elementary School for one year before being promoted to the position of Vice Principal at Clarence Michiel Elementary. From there, he was promoted to the Principalship at Thornhill Primary and later transferred to E T Kenney Primary, where he was Principal for a number of years. As a young teacher/administrator, he worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education for the young students in the Terrace area because although he was an administrator for most of his career, he saw himself primarily as an educator. He was also active and much respected in the Terrace community where he served on the Arts Council, was Chairman of the Terrace Library Board for a number of years, and was a member of the local Rotary Club. In lighter personal moments, he enjoyed working behind the scenes with the Terrace Little Theatre. He and his wife Elaine, also a teacher, raised their four children in Terrace, and Al was actively involved in Terrace Youth Soccer and in Minor Hockey with his children. Sadly, his own health started to deteriorate in the late 1980’s and he was forced into retirement. He had a dry, somewhat Scottish sense of humour, and in his good years loved trying new things … skiing, boating, snowmobiling, kayaking, horseback riding … and spending time with his dog out in the beautiful Canadian north country that he had chosen as his own. He came to Terrace initially for a year, but he and Elaine stayed for over 40 years. In 2011, in hopes of restoring his deteriorating health, they moved to Sidney on Vancouver Island, where there is the benefit of a milder climate and the attraction of greater proximity to two of their children. Unfortunately, his health never improved and his last years were plagued by increasing health issues, including dementia. The family is saddened by his passing but take comfort in the fact that he is now at peace and no longer in pain.
He is survived by his wife, Elaine, by his sister, Kathleen, who still resides in Scotland, his four children (David, Jon, Karen, and Jenn) and by eight grandchildren, Andrew and Sarah (David), Henry and Charlie (Jon), Valen and Kael (Karen), and Maximus and Jaina (Jenn). According to his wishes he was cremated on August 9th and his life will be celebrated privately by his family. In lieu of flowers we know he would appreciate donations being made to The Salvation Army, a group that was close to his heart for the selfless help they give to so many suffering souls.
“The honest man tho’ e’er sae poor
Is king o’men for a’ that”
Robert Burns “For A’ That”