OBITUARY: James B. ‘J.B.’ Shepard


James B. “J.B.” Shepard, beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully at the age of 96 on April 19, 2024, surrounded by his loving family.

Born March 2, 1928, in Hickman County, Tennessee, he was the son Marvin Osco and Adelle Shepard.

He grew up in the Nunnelly community along the Piney River where he developed a strong work ethic and a deep sense of integrity that would guide him throughout his life.

In 1952, J.B. married the love of his life, Jean Bratton, with whom he was blessed to share 69 years. Together, they built a beautiful family and created countless memories that will be cherished forever by his family. J.B. and Jean’s doors were always open, and you always knew they were glad to share their lives with you.

As a child, J.B. was influenced by the County Agricultural Extension Agent that would come to his family’s farm. He knew he wanted to have that kind of impact on the lives of others. He was a graduate of Hickman County High School, attended University of Tennessee in Martin, and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a master’s degree.

He served in the United States Army and while stationed at Fort Devons, Massachusetts, he served as an instructor, teaching fifty students at a time, one from each state, to transcribe morse code. After his military service, J.B. finally realized his childhood dream by serving the citizens of Humphreys County and later Maury County as 4-H Club Instructor for the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service and was Maury County’s Agricultural Extension Agent for 35 years.

Following his retirement from the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, he became a private consultant for individuals in the cattle business. He owned a real estate company and continued to work as a realtor until 2016, retiring at the age of 88. Throughout J.B.’s life, he served his community on several boards, including the Kiwanis club for many years, and numerous committees of the United Methodist Church where he had been a long-time member.

J.B. lived a remarkable life filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories. He was known for his kindness, generosity, and compassion towards others. He had a passion for educating young people, serving his community, and sharing his knowledge of land and livestock. Until last week, J.B. could be found tending to his yard. J.B. was a master storyteller. He had a keen intellect and an insatiable curiosity about the world around him, always eager to learn something new and teach someone else what he had learned.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Jean.

He is survived by son Jim (Sandy) Shepard of Louisville, Kentucky, grandchildren Ben (Katie) Shepard, Dylan (Jessica) Shepard, Garrison (Desire) Shepard, Braden Shepard, Tristan Shepard and great-grandchildren Ellie, Levi and Judah Shepard who will continue to honor his legacy by carrying on the values he held dear.

A private graveside service will be held at Polk Memorial Gardens. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements and condolences may be extended online at

The family especially thanks J.B.’s Niece Elizabeth Dixon and dear friend Debra Sloane, her husband Tim, and their family for their friendship, compassion, and care towards J.B. and Jean throughout the years.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Samaritan’s Purse in his memory.


For more obituaries visit

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here