Mary T. Sheppard was the perfect teammate.
In the early days of her 48-year marriage to famed Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard, she would listen to Yankees home games on the radio, getting a jump on dinner as the game progressed. Bob Sheppard, who was the public address announcer for the Yankees for 56 years and football's New York Giants for 50 years, was known for his distinctive and eloquent voice.
As her husband fell ill — he died in 2010 at 99 — she made sure his privacy was adequately protected while the famous Bronx voice faded from public life.
All the while, she remained a constant force in the Baldwin community, where she lived her entire life.
Mary Sheppard, an elementary school teacher in Levittown and Baldwin for 26 years, died of a heart condition Aug. 6 at her home in Baldwin, her family said. She was 95.
“When you saw her, you smiled,” said friend Ann Marie Pierce of Merrick, who owns Imperial Florist in Baldwin. "When Mary walked down the block, when Mary was in church, she just put a smile on your face. She was so nice to be around. You felt warm and cozy around her. She just gave you that feeling.”
Mary Sheppard, a devout Catholic, met her husband in 1960 at St. Christopher’s Church in Baldwin. Bob Sheppard was a widower with four children, three that were already grown and a 10-year-old, Chris, who Mary took to immediately and later adopted.
“She raised me, and she did a good job of it, too. I’m sure it was hard for my father to date someone and bring a 10-year-old to pitch-and-putt, but she went along with it,” said Chris Sheppard of California. "She was a teacher and was used to 8-year-olds. She was very well-trained to come into my life."
Mary Sheppard gave Chris — and the three older children — a brand new side of the family. Chris Sheppard said he built relationships with Mary’s parents, Estelle and Robert Hoffman of Baldwin, who became loving and active grandparents.
“It was really a nice deal to have her come into my life, because she shared everything,” said Chris Sheppard, who served as a captain in the Navy and was later an airline pilot. “She was smart, and it was something I needed in my life at the time. I attribute my success, in large part, to her. She trained me in school and kept me on the right track.”
Born Sept. 17, 1926, in Brooklyn, Mary Sheppard attended St. Agnes Cathedral High School in Rockville Centre and later got her teaching certification at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. She taught third grade, beginning her career in Levittown and continuing it at Lenox Elementary School in Baldwin until her retirement in the late 1970s.
“She had a gift of great communication with the students, and she had a lot of experience at that grade [level],” Chris Sheppard said. “She had a good sense of humor, kept things moving and was very well organized in the class. She had great behavior of the students in her class because they enjoyed having her as their teacher.”
Mary Shepard was a lifelong member of the Church of St. Christopher in Baldwin, serving as a lector, a eucharistic minister and chairperson of several committees, Chris Sheppard said.
“Her advice to people was always good,” said Monsignor Steven R. Camp, the former pastor at St. Christopher’s who currently serves in the same position at the Church of St. Patrick in Huntington. “She always encouraged people to pray before they made decisions, to be very prudent in the decisions that they made, and to always be temperate, keeping balance in their life.”
In addition to Chris Sheppard, Mary Sheppard is survived by stepchildren Sister Mary Sheppard of Northport and Paul Sheppard of Maryland; a sister, Roberta Kerwin of California, and eight grandchildren. A funeral mass will be held 10 a.m. Monday at St. Christopher’s Church in Baldwin. She will be buried at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, her family said.