John L. Sheppard, 69, business owner, veteran


John L. Sheppard, a Marine Corps veteran and retired home improvement business owner, died of lung cancer April 26 at his Columbia home. He was 69.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Appleton Street, he was a 1952 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. He attended Morgan State University before enlisting in the Marine Corps, where he served for 22 years, including in Vietnam. He was an electronics specialist and retired from military service in 1975 as a captain.

He then ran his own home improvement and electronics repair business. He built decks and patios, finished basements and did landscaping. He also repaired automobiles.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Witzke Funeral Home of Columbia, 5555 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia.

Survivors include his wife of nearly five years, the former Lois Kess; a son, Michael Sheppard of Burke, Va.; a daughter, Valerie Sheppard of Atlanta; two stepsons, Bryan Harris of Seattle and Michael Harris of New Market; two stepdaughters, Kimberly Coates of Baltimore and Allyson Evans of Gaithersburg; a brother, James Linwood Sheppard of Baltimore; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His marriage to the former Loretta Young ended in divorce.

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