Peter Samuel Shepherd, 87

Sat, 04/30/2011 - 2:00pm
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Peter Samuel Shepherd, a summer visitor since 1976, died on April 19, 2011.

Born in Park Slope, Brooklyn, N.Y., on December 20, 1923, Peter grew up during the great depression and then went on to fight in World War II.

Peter first met his wife Veronica when they were teenagers living on 11th Street in Park Slope.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946 in the Pacific theater and was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He was assigned as a B-29 bomber tail gunner and flew 31 combat missions over Japan with the 6th Bomb Group 39th Squadron stationed at Tinian Island in 1945 — the same base where the famous Enola Gay was stationed.

Peter mostly flew on the Lady Jean.

According to his medal commendation records, on one particular mission, “his plane was subjected to numerous aggressive and coordinated fighter attacks and heavy, intense and accurate flak. It was during these attacks that his plane was severely damaged and thrown out of control. By his great technical proficiency and excellent marksmanship, Sergeant Shepherd succeeded in driving away all enemy fighters [that] attempted to attack his crippled ship from the tail position. He distinguished himself when, at great personal risk at high altitude, he entered the open bomb bay to close and fasten three of the bomb doors, which had been jarred open from a burst of enemy fire. His display of courage in the face of extreme danger, his exhibition of great technical skill, and his accurate marksmanship and coolness under fire, reflect great credit on himself and the U.S. Army Air Force.”

Additionally, he was the five-time recipient of the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Cluster. He also received the Asiatic Pacific Service, American Service, two Distinguished Unit, Good Conduct, and the World War II Victory Medals.

Peter married Veronica upon his return from the war in 1946. They started their family and moved to Huntington, N.Y.

Peter worked 40 years as an engineer in the defense aerospace industry and retired from the Grumman Corporation where he contributed to the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) and later the E-2C Hawkeye surveillance aircraft.

Peter and Veronica were residents for 22 years at the Village Green in Vero Beach, Fla.

Peter was a humble man, devoted husband, and caring father with a loving family.

He is predeceased by his parents and sisters Leona Peterson and Agnes Clements, and a brother, Wesley Shepherd.

Peter is survived by sister Eleanor Ross of Bellrose, N.Y.

Peter is also survived by his loving wife Veronica and their five children: son Dennis of Madison, Conn., daughter Laurie Johnson Miele of Garden City, N.Y., and sons Peter, Gerard, and Timothy of Huntington, N.Y.  Peter and Veronica have 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.