Dickson Names Senior Activity Center Building for David Shepard

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The City of Dickson formally dedicated the building that houses the Senior Activity Center as the David A. Shepard Building during a ceremony Friday, Dec. 15.

While the brass plaque that will commemorate the dedication is still being produced, Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and Martha Shepard unveiled a replica of the plaque in a ceremony during the annual Mayor’s Christmas Breakfast at the center at 100 Payne Springs Road. With about 100 guests, including Shepard family members, Weiss dedicated the building to Shepard, who served on the Dickson City Council, in the Tennessee House of Representatives and on the Dickson County Commission for more than 30 years in public service.

Flanked by Shepard’s widow, Martha, and daughter, Councilwoman Stacey Shepard Levine, Weiss recalled his personal friendship with Shepard.

“David was a friend to almost, I’m sure, everybody in this room,” Weiss said. “I’ve known David as long a I can remember. We went on many golf trips together. It’s an honor to be here to recognize David.”

A native of Hickman County, Shepard moved to Dickson when his father, M.O. Shepard, was named the county extension agent. He graduated from Dickson High School in 1965, the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1969 and the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis in 1974. He served in Vietnam where he earned the Bronze Star with Valor.

He and Martha met in Pharmacy school and married in 1974. He served 22 years as a clinical pharmacy specialist with the Veterans Administration Medical Center. They purchased a pharmacy in Dickson in 1981 and opened Dickson Apothecary and operated other independent pharmacies in the region. The Shepards also participated in multiple medical mission trips.

Shepard served 12 years on the Dickson City Council 1977-89, including 10 years as vice mayor, 16 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives 2000-16, and was elected to the Dickson County Commission in 2018 where he was serving at the time of his death Feb. 4, 2021, after a battle with cancer at the age of 73.

“He really dedicated his life to serving this community,” Weiss said.

Elected to the Dickson City Council in 2021, Mrs. Levine said she is proud to be following in her father’s footsteps in serving the community.

“I was a brand new member of the Council when this project was going through its final stages of completion, so I feel really grateful to be a small part of this incredible place,” Mrs. Levine said, “And I know Dad would have loved it, especially the yummy lunches that they serve here. But my family and I, my Mom and my two brothers, Chris and Ben, and Kitzie, my sister-in-law, and my husband, Ethan, and the six grandchildren, we’re all just very humbled and grateful for this honor. And we just feel grateful that his name is associated with a place that represents community and relationships and health and food and fun.”

After she unveiled the plaque replica, Martha Shepard said her late husband would be proud to be associated with the new senior center.

“David Shepard would be so proud to know that this building, this new senior citizens’ building, is being named in his memory,” Mrs. Shepard said. “David had a special place in his heart for senior citizens. He worked with so many World War II veterans that were senior citizens at the VA Hospital during his career up there. But those of you that knew David know that he had a special place in his heart for all people. David loved people.”

Mrs. Shepard thanked the partners of the Reynolds, Potter, Ragan, Vandivort law practice who initiated the effort to name a city facility in honor of Shepard through a petition to the city’s Naming Committee and the city of Dickson for approving the dedication. The committee endorsed the proposal and the Dickson City Council passed Resolution #2023-15 on June 5, 2023, to name the new senior activity center building in Shepard’s honor.

“All of y’all have brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart this morning,” Mrs. Shepard said.
Following the dedication ceremony, Weiss invited the guests to enjoy a breakfast buffet prepared by the staff of the Senior Activity Center.

Weiss said the annual Mayor’s Christmas Breakfast started in the mid-1990s at East Hills Restaurant to show appreciation to the city’s department heads and administrative staff. It has grown to include city council members past and present, local and state elected representatives, chairpersons of various city committees and boards and representatives of local businesses that work closely with the city.

In addition to his department heads and staff, Weiss recognized State Reps. Mary Littleton and Jody Barrett, Nashville State Community College President Dr. Shanna Jackson, new NSCC Dickson campus Director Telaina Wrigley, new Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Dickson President Laura Travis, interim Director of Dickson County Schools Dr. Vivian McCord, the principals of the Dickson County schools located inside the city that host school resource officers from the Dickson Police Department and former Mayor J. Dan Buckner among the invited guests.

The mayor also asked for those attending to remember Emergency Communications Director Rosalind Sowell and her family following the passing of her mother, Delois Fossie, earlier that morning. Weiss and Sowell, whom he said he knows as Alfreda, were classmates in the Dickson County High School Class of 1976. She has been with the city 15 years, the last eight as director of the Emergency Communications Department of 911 telecommunicators.

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