Joel Steven ‘Joe’ Sheppard Jr., 90, award-winning builder and active community supporter

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Joel Steven Sheppard Jr.
Joel Steven Sheppard Jr.

Joel Steven “Joe” Sheppard Jr., of Williamsburg, died peacefully on Nov. 9 at age 90. Born in Henrico County, VA, to Joel and Hazel Toombs Sheppard, “Joe” was preceded in death by his sisters: Bernice Totty, Eunice Hawkes and Mildred Berry. He is survived by his wife Bonnie Biddle Sheppard and 4 children: J. Steven Sheppard III (Roxanne), Bonnie G. Pizzeck (Don), Stephen A. Wesson and Christine Wesson Choate. Joe is blessed with 6 grandchildren (Angela, Erin, Ryan, Greg, Madison and Matthew) and 7 great-grandchildren.

After attending Glen Allen High School and serving in the Army during World War II, Joe moved to Newport News in the early 1950’s to begin a marriage and family. While working as a pattern maker for the Shipyard, he “moonlighted” by building homes. This became a 62-year building career that culminated in Joel S. Sheppard, Inc., a quality-award winning custom home business in Williamsburg. Joe’s 1,600+ homes are found in many established Peninsula neighborhoods. Named the Peninsula Housing & Builders Association’s 1997 Builder of the Year, he also owned or co-owned several local builder and land development companies before retiring in 2015.

An active community supporter, Joe served on boards for James City County, several banks, Tidewater AAA, Custom Builder Supply and Williamsburg Landing. He was active in the Peninsula HBA, a founding member of Williamsburg Community Builders Assoc. and on the Building Committee for Williamsburg Hospice House. A Kiwanis Club member since 1978, he co-founded the annual Shrimp Feast and loved participating in parades and fundraising. Joe was proud of his Outstanding Kiwanian award and treasured his many friendships.

A member of Williamsburg Presbyterian Church since 1974, Joe has provided guidance on construction matters, including the 2005 sanctuary expansion. He was a longtime member of the Kingsmill Golf Club, and “rested” by golfing, boating, driving his toy cars and traveling.

The family thanks the staffs at Spring Arbor Assisted Living, At Home Hospice, and Williamsburg Hospice House for the loving care they have provided.

Family will receive visitors from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Nov. 15 at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185; interment is private. A reception will follow the service at Kingsmill Resort, Burwell Room.

To honor his memory, please consider donations to the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg Foundation, P.O. Box 5533, Williamsburg, VA 23188; or Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23188.