Rita Shepherd, 75, of Plantersville (Drew County), Arkansas, died on September 15, 2015.
She was born February 21, 1940, in Sulhamstead, Reading, England to the late Earnest James Webb and Mary Joan Easter Webb. She met and married her first husband, the late Charles Howard Green of Star City, Arkansas, while he was stationed at Greenwich Village, England Air Force Base in 1956. After his death, she married, and is survived by, Walter Artimus Shepherd of Plantersville.
She was also preceded in death by a brother, Barry Webb.
Surviving her is her brother and sister in law Ian and Sue Webb of The Villages, Florida, and her sister and brother in law Rose and Doug Perrin of Berkshire County, England. Also surviving her are three children: Lee Green-Hall and husband Ben of Norman, Oklahoma; Phillip Green and wife Amy of Star City; and Lisa Hunt and husband David of Arkadelphia; step-son Steven Shepherd; eight grandchildren; Danielle Green of Fayetteville, Carissa Stricklin (David), Brandon, Ashten and Ayden Green of Star City, Sarah Hunt (fiancé Randy Shepard) of Fayetteville, Brian Hunt (Claudia) of Durham, NC, Jessaca Shepherd of Monticello, and two great grandchildren. She is also survived by Jessaca’s mother,Yukiko (Ken) Bivens of Monticello, who she considered a daughter.
She had a servant’s heart. While attending a Billy Graham service as a teenager, she gave her life to Christ, and she spent the rest of her life giving it to anyone and everyone she could help. She arrived in Arkansas as an English bride at the age of 17. While feeling like a stranger at first, she never met one. She became involved in the Garden Club, the Book Club, the Flower Club, and every other club within her reach. While raising her children, she donated her time and talents to the Girl Scouts, the 4-H Club, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, and the Red Cross. Any worthy cause was worthy of her time and attention.
In 1981, she was appointed Lincoln County Judge to fill out the term of her late husband who died in office. She then ran for that office in her own right and was elected to serve two more terms, becoming the first and so far only elected female County Judge of Lincoln County. After relocating to Drew County, she was elected to two terms there, making her the first and so far only person in Arkansas history to serve as County Judge in two different counties.
Throughout her years in public service, she served on various boards and committees aimed at improving the lives of the citizens in Southeast Arkansas. Most recently she served on the Southeast Arkansas Intermodal Facility board and always enjoyed working to improve the economic opportunities for the region. During her time as Drew County Judge, she helped create a substance abuse center known as “New Beginnings” to help people with drug and alcohol abuse issues. When she left office, she became its Executive Director. She gave the next ten years of her life to that effort until her battle with cancer forced her to retire. Within a year cancer took her life, but it never took her unbreakable spirit.
Visitation will be from 6 pm to 8 pm Thursday at Griffin Funeral Service in Star City. Funeral will be at 10 am Friday at the funeral home, with graveside service following at Rock Springs Cemetery in Drew County. Memorials may be made to Rock Springs United Methodist Church, the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross, or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Griffin Funeral Service in Star City.