Janette Gloria Sheppard
Jan or ‘Shep’, as she was more fondly known, spent her early life growing up on the family farm ‘Kia-Ora’ in Ardlethan, NSW.
It was here Shep developed her love of country life, with horses and trotting being a major part of family life.
Shep would help her father Jack, an icon of the trotting industry, with horse breeding and training. She was very much the country girl and would often be seen on the tractor.
Her education began at St Joseph’s Primary School in Ardlethan and secondary school at St Mary’s, Leeton.
The choice of a career in nursing fitted her like a glove. She commenced at West Wyalong Hospital in 1962 then moved to Leeton Hospital in 1964.
Shep met a young and courteous footballer, romance blossomed and Leon and Jan were married in 1967, settling at Murrami.
Following the birth of their daughter Leanne, the family moved to Bethrungra in 1968, where life revolved around this small community. A son, Darren, arrived in 1969 and their family was complete.
In August 1972, Shep recommenced her nursing career at the District Hospital in Cootamundra, where she finished her studies, balancing shift work, young children and a husband.
The 1974 Graduation Day ceremony was held at Christ Church of England, Cootamundra, where Shep graduated alongside Leoni
Brown, Cheryl Slavin, Wendy Whybrow, Marion Millar, Sandra Fox and Clare Keyes.
In 1978, the family moved to ‘Darlee’, a small holding on the outskirts of Bethrungra. Darlee was a basic three-room hut and relied on power from a generator.
In 1981 a larger modern home was built. Shep was ecstatic as this provided her family with what most took for granted.
Shep was always on the go with the hospital – especially following the rationalisation and amalgamation of the towns’ two hospitals to one. Shep worked extensively in the operating theatres, and proved herself a loyal, talented and dependable anaesthetic and scout nurse at the Cootamundra Hospital.
Shep’s love of theatre work and her expertise in this area led to further studies. She completed one of the state’s first courses in sterilising and microbiology for Enrolled Nurses. She then shared her new-found knowledge with other nurses.
Shep was an incredible, intelligent and beautiful lady, who for more than 30 years was a caring and dedicated nurse, highly respected by her peers and work colleagues. Her kindness and thoughtfulness touched the hearts of the many patients in her care.
In 2003, Shep’s service and commitment to nursing was recognised by the then Greater Murray Area Health Service, when she was presented with a brass plaque and certificate at a ceremony in Wagga Wagga.
Shep was proud of her children and the adults they had become, she cherished her six grandchildren and was never short of a story, photo or paper cutting of their progress and achievements.
A good all-rounder, Shep enjoyed cooking, sewing, knitting and gardening. Friends were always being given nutritious recipes, her rose and geranium cuttings and the garments she made were spectacular.
In March 2005, our world crumbled when Shep was diagnosed with Peritional Cancer, aged 59. She was immediately flown to Royal Women’s Hospital in Randwick, where she received treatment by leading specialists in this field.
During these trips for operations and chemotherapy, Shep’s courage and unwavering faith helped her greatly and staff were amazed at her sheer guts and determination.
Almost two years later Shep lost her courageous battle and passed away while being comforted by her family.
Shep will be sadly missed by all who knew her, worked with her and more importantly loved her.
By June Urwin, RN at Cootamundra Hospital.
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