Associate Dean Emeritus Marion Shepard Dies

Marion L. Shepard, professor and associate dean emeritus at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, died of cancer July 22 at Beaufort County Hospital in Washington, N.C. He was 67.

Shepard joined the Duke faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor of materials science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the School of Engineering. In 1977 he was appointed associate dean for undergraduate programs and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1999 when he and his wife, Cynthia, moved to Chocowinity, N.C.

Pratt Dean Kristina M. Johnson said Shepard played an important role in the school’s development in the last quarter of the 20th century. He received a Faculty Service Award in 1978 and his leadership in working with undergraduate students was recognized by the Engineering Alumni Council’s Distinguished Service Award in 1989.

“Professor Shepard was a very special person who dedicated his life to the Duke Engineering School and program,” said Guerry Grune, a 1978 engineering graduate who is now principal of, a provider of intellectual property services. “We will all miss and always remember him.”

Shepard was a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He and his wife were long supporters of Duke University and the Washington Duke Club.

Shepard was born in 1937 in Owosso, Mich., and received a BS degree in metallurgical engineering from Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University) in 1959. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Iowa State University in the early 1960s.

Before his academic career, Shepard was in materials development with United Technologies’ Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Division in East Hartford, Conn.

He was an avid golfer and served as a member of the Cypress Landing Golf Club Board of Governors. In 2004, Shepard was appointed an honorary co-chairman for fund-raising for the Beaufort County Hospital’s new Oncology Center, which is scheduled to open in late 2005.

He is survived by Cynthia, his wife of 43 years; his daughter, Lori Gagnon and her husband, Jon, and daughter, Jolie, of Harpswell, Maine; his sisters, Sally Page of Boyne City, Mich., and Rebecca Fenrick of Janesville, Wisc., and brothers Gordon Shepard of Petoskey, Mich.; James Shepard of Roseburg, Ore.; and William Shepard of Palisade, Colo.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, July 27.