George Edward Shepard Jr., former Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, died March 1, 2021, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the age of 81. Mr. Shepard was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on October 3, 1939. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 1964 and a master’s degree from The George Washington University in 1966.
In October 1967, Mr. Shepard was hired by USAID as a refugee advisor and served in the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support Program in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. During 18 months in Pleiku Province in the Central Highlands, he worked as a civilian with the indigenous Montagnards—allies of the United States in the war against North Vietnam. His last assignment was as an advisor to the deputy district chief. Mr. Shepard’s time in Vietnam and his work as a refugee advisor had a tremendous impact on his life. He was one of only five recipients of a medal for the development of minority ethnic groups from the Republic of Vietnam. Later, when the Montagnards began entering the United States as refugees in the 1980s, he became involved with the resettlement process, once again making lifelong friends. Subsequently, Mr. Shepard had a varied and interesting career, ending with 10 years as an economic developer in the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Mr. Shepard is survived by his wife, Sharon Sullivan Mújica; his sons Erik (Laura) and Adam (Ivana); stepchildren Marco and Samantha Marquez and Jeff and Tanya Keenan; and step-grandchildren Elle and Sofia.