Within the Hoosier legal community, Richard S. Shepard may get the most recognition as the father of Indiana’s chief justice.
But the Evansville man’s life stands out on its own, ranging from island-hopping invasions in World War II to being a franchiser who helped pioneer the fast-food revolution of McDonald’s.
The 87-year-old father of Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard died Sunday in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Born in Chicago to Earle L. and Mary Schilling Shepard on May 11, 1921, Richard Shepard was part of a family that’s been in the Hoosier state since its days as a territory. Evansville knew him best for his association with the Golden Arches and first bringing the franchise to the Tri-State area, according to his obituary.
When fewer than 100 McDonald’s restaurants existed nationally, Shepard and his business partner opened their first restaurant in August 1959. The two opened 12 stores in Indiana and Kentucky as McDonald’s grew to 15,000 locations worldwide. In 1961, he was among 14 members of the first graduating class at Hamburger University, the company’s worldwide management training center based in Illinois.
Shepard started his business career in Lafayette with Sears Roebuck & Co., where he served as credit department manager and worked at stores in Illinois and Kentucky before pursuing the McDonald’s franchise.
He graduated in 1942 from DePauw University, where he met his future wife Dorothy Donlen Shepard. The two married in April 1943 and recently celebrated their 65th anniversary.
Following college, Shepard went through officer training with U.S. Coast Guard Academy and eventually served in World War II. He advanced to lieutenant junior grade and served as an officer on a landing ship tank, participating in multiple invasions including New Guinea and the Admiralty Islands.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; daughter, Judith Shepard Horn; son, Chief Justice Shepard; and two granddaughters.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Ziemer Funeral Home’s East Chapel, 800 S. Hebron Ave., Evansville. Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park, 2200 Mesker Park Drive, Evansville. Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 6301 Old Boonville Highway #B, Evansville, IN 47715, or to DePauw University, P.O. Box 37, Greencastle, IN 46135. Condolences may also be made at www.ziemerfuneralhome.com.