Then and Now — 1936 & 2023 — 123 8th Ave No.
This house, built in 1905, was purchased in 1917 by Guy and Nell Shepard. Guy Benjamin Shepard was born on July 24, 1885, in Ripon WI, his father was a local dentist. Guy was the eldest of four children, his youngest two siblings died in their infancy, leaving only Guy and his brother Lee.
Guy received his schooling in Ripon and in 1903, when Guy was 18 and Lee 16, his father died. Guy immediately took a job in the general store as a dry-goods clerk to help his mother with income. By 1910, Guy, Lee and their mother, had relocated to Chicago where Guy had taken a job as a wireless telephone operator. Guy, then 24, was starting to consider that working a manual job wasn’t going to get him to a position in life where he wanted to be. Having been good with numbers in school, Guy decided in 1912 to answer an advertisement for a position at Central Bank in St. Pete as a cashier.
Guy, Lee, and their mother boarded the train and headed south. Once they arrived and settled in, the family purchased a house on Tangerine Ave. Guy worked for the bank until 1914 when he was appointed City Auditor, and the following year when the city moved from the old Alderman form of government to the Commission form, he was appointed the first city Director of Finance.
Guy was active in local social activities and as a good pianist was constantly invited to entertain at parties in town. It was at one of these events that Guy met Ms. Nellie Fuller Conn, whose family had moved to St. Pete in 1908, from Chattanooga. Her father had been transferred from the Railroad service in Chattanooga to the ACL Line in St. Pete. The couple hit it off and the wedding (at St. Peter’s Episcopal church), was held on January 20, 1917. Since there was no official announcement, the Times stated that the wedding “came as a surprise to their many friends.” The wedding was held for family only and the service was performed by Rev E.E. Madeira. After the wedding Guy and Nell purchased this featured house in which they lived for several years.
Guy and Nell had three children, Guy III (1918), Mary (1921) and Kathryn (1923). All three children attended local schools in St. Pete.
In 1919, Guy became a charter member of the St. Pete Rotary Club and served as its first Secretary/Treasurer. The charter members read like a Who’s Who of pioneer St. Pete with members named Straub, Thomasson, Frazee, Lewis, Gandy, Dann, Foley, Pulver, Lang, and 11 others.
In 1924, Guy opened the Shepard Clothing Co. at 353 Central Ave. By 1929, Guy was serving as Vice-Mayor of this city and in 1930, was appointed by the State Comptroller to be Liquidator of Pinellas County banks following the Stock Market crash. This same year Guy became a city Commissioner.
In 1932, Guy was tapped to be a part of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in Washington DC., and with his family, moved north. His children finished their High School years in DC.
Quite unexpectedly, on December 12, 1940, Guy died, he was 55 years old. His obituary was run in the St. Pete Times, touting his many accomplishments in the Sunshine City. Guy was buried in Colombia Cemetery in Arlington.
Nell moved back to St. Pete with her daughter Mary, where she lived until July 23, 1976, when she passed away at age 81. Nell is buried in Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete.
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