Sheppard, Alvin McKinley – NRVNews
It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we announce the passing of Alvin McKinley Sheppard of Christiansburg, Virginia on January 4, 2022. He left this world leaving behind a collection of unnecessary items obtained during local auctions, mailbox flyers and As Seen On TV, infomercials featuring 9 bionic earbuds, numerous mounted animal trophies and carcasses, 244 “winning” raffle letters, 14 jars of Flex products Seal, 6 toilets with mismatched seats, a FlowBee Precision haircut system, a box of moths – eaten faux fur stoles, a dozen hand-knitted nose warmers, 2 bonnet hairdryers with hose and curlers, 4 flip switches, lots of boxes of non-usable kitchen gadgets and a prosthetic leg that might come in handy in the event of an unforeseeable accident.
Alvin was born February 9, 1932 to Daniel and Sadie Sheppard in Merrimac, Virginia. The oldest of his siblings Rosetta, Skip, Emmet and Leroy, Alvin said he was “the well-behaved – claiming his lips had never taken a sip of alcohol or met with a cigarette because he found Jesus “- but it is suspected that Jesus found him while washing dishes with an angel who caught his attention at the Appalachian Pentecostal Church conference. During his time at the conference, he grew closer to Jesus and became even more attached to this angel Betty.
Betty lived 200 miles away in Caldwell, West Virginia and Alvin didn’t have a car but that wasn’t going to stop him from seeing her again. Alvin got a job at the Radford Army Ammunition Factory – under the false pretense that he was of working age, telling the interviewer he forgot to bring his draft card with him and had managed to convince himself of a job earning $ 1.50 an hour when he was barely 17 years old. Payday arrived and he put on his best pants, slicked back his hair with Bryl Crème gloss and started hitchhiking.
On his way to the town of Caldwell his journey was far from over, as transportation in the woods of West Virginia was not easy to find. He continued to walk for miles along a railroad track, around several winding paths – thinking he was lost, he started to turn around, he found Jesus – or rather a sign sent by the smoke billowing from a chimney that peered through trees in the valley. He continued to walk following Jesus to the little white cabin where he charmed his way into the hearts of Betty and her family that day. On September 22, 1952, they were married at Caldwell Pentecostal Holiness Church.
After moving to Christiansburg, Alvin continued to “find Jesus” – often by being dragged by his 4’10 “angel to the altar at Vicker Pentecostal Holiness Church – a place they both frequented with the birth of their first four children Queena, Angela, Alvin Jr. and Joey. It was in the early years that Alvin independently built a house based on a picture in his head and with the sweat of his brow he very probably assembled four walls and a roof with duct tape, fix-a-flat and / or rubber cement. About 20 years later two more daughters, Sonja and Misty, were born. More of Jesus had to be found afterwards 40 years of marriage with children in a house built by Alvin.
Over the years he reinvented himself using the infamous Flex Seal “As Seen On TV” products, excelling in his home improvement skills and “Taking it to the Max”, he became the “Door”. unofficial word “- and stood behind this so called” Handy Man in a Can “Alvin brushed, sprayed, soaked and rolled it all over. Flex Seal Liquid, Flex Seal Putty, Flex Seal Glue, Flex Seal Paste and Flex Seal Tape were the answer to everything from roofs and floors to kitchen sinks and drawers; replacing mufflers and car doors, repairing shoes, glasses and open cuts and wounds.
Alvin retired from Hercules after 46 years, exchanging his badge and scorecard for a license to hunt, fish, and mine ginseng anytime. He traveled the Appalachians on foot digging and drying those “golden” roots, selling them to fund his hunting and fishing adventures, in addition to maintaining his Flex Seal inventory. He could hang out with the best of hunters – once one of his biggest kills was mounted on the bedroom wall above their bed – and oh what a “come to Jesus” moment it was he found himself. kneeling at the foot of his angel and barely surviving on a prayer “Yes, although I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death”.
Over the years he has learned many lessons about love – especially on how to make your wife feel special – that when you got married for the first time, buying 2 action figures of Miniature toilet labeled “His and Hers” in the Pilot Mountain Souvenir store was an appropriate gesture of new love, even if the love of your life, a porcelain toilet from Lowes for her birthday years later was not. He realized that he needed more of Jesus every day and found most of the complaints… or rather, the prayers were best whispered or said in a low voice. Although he never quite mastered the ability to hold his tongue, he had a special talent in which he could touch the tip of his nose with his tongue.
Alvin found that Jesus heard these whispered prayers and that holding his mouth “just right” led to peaceful nights and plentiful catfish catches at dawn. It was not only Jesus who answered his prayers in a soft voice, but even the fish seemed to be drawn to his whispers. Alvin whispered a tune that drew the biggest musky catfish to the depths of the New River. Holding her mouth “just right”, the “Fish Whisperer” rolled up the biggest catch in her boat which was undoubtedly kept afloat with the box of Flex Seal Liquid Rubber that she kept in her tackle box. .
There are no words that can truly describe who Alvin was and how much he meant to those who knew and loved him. He didn’t have much when he came to this world, but what he did with this life was more precious than money and material things. He made the most of everything life offered him, reinventing ways to accomplish even the most impossible tasks. He was dedicated to his wife and family, finding he always needed more of Jesus in good times and bad, which says a lot about a 70-year marriage and abundant offspring without a criminal record. He was a hard worker, honest and reliable, unlike the many cars he has driven over the years. He gave his time and money to those in need. He was kind and hopeful and trusted everyone in this world to be the same. He left this world without ever receiving his winning check from Publisher’s Clearing House, but I am sure he received riches that far exceed any raffle rewards and he is now in the presence of Jesus rejoicing to beckon. to his family to continue.
Alvin is survived by his wife Betty Hoke Sheppard, Children: Queena & Larry Shelor, Angela & Bobby Overstreet, Alvin II & Sharon Sheppard, Sonja & Brian Martin, Misty & Christopher Queen; Grandchildren: Shona Farmer, Winona Linkous, Leona Alexander, Keona Mobley, Niona Nester, Halona David, Annona Shelor, Jamie Witt, Angel Turner, Jessica Miller, Denise Smith, Zach, Alvin III, Melieta, Samuel; Chandra, Simeon & Foster Sheppard, Caitlin Brown, Matthew Martin, Sierra Queen; Great-grandchildren: Kalla Harris, Shriah, Stephen Marshal, Shikinah Bain, Karsyn, Kasey & Raven Mobley, Oliver Nester, Cooper & Roasaleigh David, Micheal, Alex, Abby & Holly Witt, Daniel, Nathaniel, Brooke & Brett Smith, Christina, Falisha, Phillip, Daniel, Maggie and Montana Miller, Skyler Helms, Isaiah and Shiloh Sheppard, Rowan Brown; Great-great-grandchildren Brealynn Sheppard, Sophia Bain, Alan Huff. He was predeceased by his brothers Skip and Leroy, his granddaughters Alexis Smith, Brielynn Miller and Megan Sheppard.
Family would like to invite family and friends to a Celebration of Life on January 15th at Fairlawn Church of God (7858 Peppers Ferry Blvd Fairlawn, Va 24141). Visits from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., service begins quickly at 5 p.m. Flowers and condolences can be sent directly to the church. Monetary donations can be made in lieu of flowers and will be used to reduce the excessive burden of medical debt and burial costs.