Gardner-Webb University Trustee Emeritus, Longtime Supporter Passes Away

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Wade Shepherd, 87, Remembered for His Service, Generosity

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—As a member of the U.S. military, he served his country in Korea. As a longtime trustee and generous donor at Gardner-Webb, he served the University family and community. Wade R. Shepherd, who passed away Nov. 8 at 87 years old, is being remembered for his lifetime of work to improve the lives of others and glorify God.

Shepherd, a native of Hickory, N.C., earned a business administration degree from the Clevenger College of Business in Hickory, and he worked nearly 50 years in textiles as owner and operator of Wade Shepherd Hosiery, Shepknit Hosiery, Sheplan Hosiery and Contour Foam Corp. In addition to his profession, he was active in his church, Penelope Baptist in Hickory, where he was a trustee and deacon, finance and ushers chairman, and treasurer.

In 2009, Shepherd explained his calling to serve others in an interview for Gardner-Webb The Magazine. “It is vital that we attend to the things that leave the proper witness to win people to Christ, in whatever method we can do. Except for the grace of God and his blessing, I would not be standing here,” he said. “Someone once said, ‘Take advantage of an opportunity when it passes so you don’t have to chase it when it’s gone,’” he continued. “I exercise my choices as God led me in that statement and that’s why I’m where I am.”

During the Korean Conflict in the 1950s, Shepherd was a member of the U.S. Army with a special assignment to the U.S. Air Force. He earned the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Letter of Commendation for his service.

Wade Shepherd, left, is pictured in 2003 with Dr. Frank Campbell, GWU's president at the time.

In addition to serving as a Gardner-Webb trustee since 1995, Shepherd made major financial contributions to multiple campaigns to advance the University’s programs and facilities. He received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from GWU in 2003 and was honored with the title of trustee emeritus for his leadership and service to the institution.

In a University tribute to Shepherd several years ago, GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner addressed his impact on both Gardner-Webb and the world. “It’s good to have a friend who embodies what we stand for at Gardner-Webb,” Bonner remarked. “A successful and innovative businessman, a family man and a Christian who supports his church and this University.”

A funeral service for Shepherd was held Thursday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. at Penelope Baptist Church in Hickory. Burial followed in Oakwood Cemetery. Bass-Smith Funeral Home in Hickory handled arrangements.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).