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Billie June Shepard

September 21, 1947 ~ January 10, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old
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Obituary

Billie Lankford Shepard died Jan 10, 2023 at St Peter’s Hospital after a 7 year battle with cancer. Billie was born to Everetta Mae Markley and William Melvin Lankford in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fifteen months later Everetta died of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. With help from the Markley family Bill raised his daughter as a single father until 1951 when he married Helen Walker who was the dearest mother to Billie. Billie graduated from Tulsa Central High School and the University of Oklahoma. She remained a loyal Sooner fan throughout her life.

In high school she met the love of her life and eventual husband Robert Shepard. In 1970 after 7 years of dating they were married. With the Shepard family BIllie found the sisters and brothers she never had growing up. She taught high school math while Bob pursued a degree in medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas. It was a hectic and stressful few years. An opportunity arose to practice medicine in a small town and in order to gain perspective on the future, Billie and Bob moved to Fort Benton Montana where Bob practiced general medicine. While living in Fort Benton, their son, Justin, was born. They left Montana for additional training opportunities in California with the intent to return to Montana. While living in the Bay Area their daughter, Robin, was born.

In 1978, The family moved to Helena for Bob to begin his medical career. Billie was involved in many activities that she and her children enjoyed. She was a Girl Scout leader and Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, and a Boy Scout and school volunteer. She served on the Montana City School Board for two terms. In 1983, She completed a degree in Accounting at Carroll College. Billie enjoyed many activities including hiking, backpacking, gardening, genealogy, cooking good food, and wine, birdwatching, stargazing and On a backpacking trip while making a gourmet dinner on the trail from scratch she was dubbed by a fellow backpacker as “Martha Stewart of the wilderness”.

In 1995, Billie took a seasonal position at the Pan Handler which led to her eventual purchase of the Pan Handler from her friend and mentor Concetta Eckel. She owned the Pan Handler until it closed in 2022. It was the best and hardest job she ever had. She loved helping people learn about food and wine, and helping them select the best tools to enjoy being in their kitchens. She always remembered with fondness the many employees she worked with over the years who were like family and the many loyal customers who were like friends.

Much love and thanks to her dear and steadfast friends the Edens, the James, the Schultz’s and to the best neighbor ever, Linda Piccolo and her family, her college roommate Cindy WIlliams and her S & B friends and dinner buddies. And gratitude for the love and support of her husband and children, her son-inlaw and all her extended family for their help and encouragement through her repeated bouts with cancer.

Also many thanks to Dr Justin Thomas and the caring staff at the Bozeman Cancer Treatment Center and the nurses at St Peter’s for their care in her final days.

Billie was preceded in death by her parents, her parents of the heart Eleanor and Robert, and her sister of the heart Gayle Henley. She is survived by her husband of 52 years Bob, and her children, Justin and Robin and Robin’s husband Ray Forbes. Also surviving are her beloved sisters and brothers of the heart, Carolyn and Ken Balson and Pam and Tom Shepard and seven of the dearest nieces and nephews and their families. In addition, surviving her are cousins Hal Lankford and his family and her Epperson and Markley cousins.

Donations in her name can be made to Helena Food Share or Prickly Pear Land Trust. A memorial service will be held in June.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Billie June Shepard, please visit our floral store.


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In Loving Memory Of

Billie Shepard

September 21, 1947-January 10, 2023




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Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Ongoing
Online Event

profile

In Loving Memory Of

Billie Shepard

September 21, 1947-January 10, 2023




Look inside to read what others have shared


Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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