John’s parents were childhood sweethearts and eventually got married in 1912. John’s father and his two brothers were all called up for the First World War and sent to France; of the three brothers only John’s father returned.
His father was a man of many talents, Musician/Pianist/Tuner, Radio and Television (in its very early days) Technician/French Polisher and on his return from the War he opened up his own Piano Tuning/Repair/Maintenance business in Streatham but once the Second War broke out he closed the business and rang the Government to offer his services for the War Effort. Due to his age an active posting was not possible but due to his background in Radio and early Television he was seconded to the Secret Underground HQ of the British Govt in London (now called the Churchill War Rooms). After the War ended he started a plastics factory with two other Army Officers he had worked alongside with.
Schooling, Education and Employment
Like many of his generation, John’s education was interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Whilst being evacuated he was taught the 3 R’s along with other subjects such as Book-keeping, Wood/Metal Work, Cooking and a variety of sports.
Following the end of the War he was found a position with a Lloyds of London Insurance Brokers dealing with the Names/Syndicates/Underwriters. On his return from National Service he returned to the insurance industry but soon decided that the timber industry had more to offer. He qualified as a timber-trader and on joining Alfred Dobell Timber agents he soon rose through the Ranks and headed up the London Office in Rangoon Street, Eastcheap in the City of London. Following his National Service John joined the Territorial Army achieving the Rank of Battery Sergeant Major.
John grew up in a very close family along with his sister (they were born 8½ years apart), Pamela. John has been married twice, his first marriage of 20 years produced two daughters and in his second marriage, two sons and a daughter. John in his own words is “Twice bitten, three times shy” and has never remarried.
Hobbies and or interests?
John discovered sport at the age of five and it has become a significant part of his life. John took part in many sports, running, football, ice hockey and Badminton. In his earlier years John was an exceptional runner and was asked to take it up full time but decided he would prefer to run for Fun and Fitness. He is a fully qualified Badminton coach and has always been involved in Badminton clubs in which ever area he has lived. When John moved to the Littlehampton area he got actively involved in the running of the Littlehampton Badminton & Squash Club and played an instrumental part in the club being able to obtain a grant of £300,000 from Sport England to enable a full refurbishment of the badminton courts. During his time there he has managed and continues to manage five teams up through the various age groups (four out of the five teams now compete in the top divisions in the County). He has also served on a number of Committees at the Club. In 2010 he was awarded Coach of the Year by the Littlehampton Town Council Sports Forum. He is a much respected member of the Littlehampton Badminton & Squash Club.
John’s other main hobbies are woodwork and stamp collecting.
John was proposed into Glenmore Lodge by Philip Toler Snr and John Toler at the age of 36. The Lodge in those days was very much a Toler family affair (Alexander Toler, Philip Toler Snr, Philip Toler Jnr and John Toler were all initiated into Glenmore Lodge). The Lodge was very formal and Philip Toler Snr felt that the Lodge needed to have a change of direction, as John Toler and John Shepherd were childhood school friend which carried on into adulthood, Philip Toler Snr felt that by John Shepherd being initiated into the Lodge he would be part of being able to make that change. John’s first thoughts on joining the Lodge was that “you could never have a giggle” but that soon changed as John does have a rather infectious character and in the words of our oldest subscribing member, WBro. Wally Burrows, it was exactly what the Lodge needed at that time.
John Shepherd has served many officers in Glenmore Lodge over the years, he has been WM on three occasions, 1972, 1992 and most recently in 2005. In 1982 he was appointed to the Active Rank of Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, in 1990 he was promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. In 1998 he was promoted to his current Rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.
John’s first appointment in 1982 coincided with the appointment of Philip Toler Jnr as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and John carried out a number of escorting duties during his year as an active Provincial Grand Officer.
Remarkably John has never joined any other Lodge or any other Masonic orders.