Insuring Tomorrow: Arthur E. Shepard
September 10, 2013
Arthur E. Shepard
Arthur E. “Art” Shepard’s life has been one of success and service. Now at 101, he looks back at his legacy and the positive partnership he has had with Ohio State.
Art studied business at Ohio State’s College of Commerce in the mid-1930s, but left before graduating. He went to work as a salesman and found the insurance business to be his calling, serving as a debit insurance agent with Western Southern Life in Newark, Ohio, for several years. In 1948, his longtime friend Floyd L. Turner convinced Art to partner in Turner & Shepard Inc., which became the largest insurance firm in Ohio doing business primarily with trade and professional associations.
After nearly 30 years, the firm became a subsidiary of Alexander & Alexander, Inc., only to be bought back 12 years later by Art and five other top managers. He continued working until his mid-80s, when Berwanger Overmyer Associates acquired the agency. “I have enjoyed my involvement in the insurance business very much. We did some good things over the years for many people,” he said.
Art’s support of Ohio State began in 1966 when he became involved with the President’s Club, serving on the executive committee for 12 years and as chair for five. “After a committee meeting one day at Ohio State, I was walking back across campus with Jim McCoy, the dean of the College of Commerce at the time,” he recalled. “I told him I was at a place where I could do a little something for the university. He suggested the President’s Club.”
During the decades since, Art has given generously to the university. In 1997, he established undergraduate scholarships to help students with financial need stay on track and not abandon their studies, as he once did. The Arthur E. Shepard Scholarship provides assistance to Cambridge High School graduates who also went to Garfield Elementary School. He was a student at both schools. The Marcia Shepard Mock and Lynne Shepard Jones Scholarship, named in honor of his daughters, supports graduates of Grandview High School, where they attended.
In 2001, Lynne lost her battle with cancer, and in her memory, Art established the Lynne Shepard Jones Endowment Fund for Cancer Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. His generosity has also included an endowed professorship in insurance at the Fisher College of Business and a Shepard Family Endowment Fund, as well as an estate plan to continue funding cancer research and scholarships.
“I have found a lot of opportunity at Ohio State. It has meant so much,” said Art, who was honored for his involvement, commitment, and service with the University Distinguished Service Award in 1986 and the Everett D. Reese Medal from The Ohio State University Foundation in 1987. In 1992, Gamma Iota Sigma chapter at Ohio State honored him for his insurance industry achievements.
Ohio State President Ed Jennings presented Art with an honorary degree. “I didn’t have the money to complete my education. So being awarded my degree was wonderful.”
Art believes a positive outlook and a good marriage or two have helped him live a long life. He had two “wonderful marriages,” each lasting an amazing 40 years. Beatrice Pearce Shepard, the mother of his daughters, passed away in 1972; Dottie Dohan Shepard passed away in November 2012 at the age of 98. A sip of a libation on occasion also may help with longevity, he joked. “Jack Daniels—I tell people that’s the secret.”
“Ohio State has definitely played a big role in my life and has been a tremendous experience for Dottie and me. We got to know many great people,” said Art, who clearly recalls his first Buckeye football game in the early 1930s. “Student season tickets were only about $7 then—and I remember it rained.”