Excelsior Springs Honors John Shepherd Longtime Coach and Educator with Street Dedication

John Shepherd (center) with his wife Mary Joyce and their family (photo Brian Rice).

Marking a tribute to a lifetime of educational service, Excelsior Springs City Council has voted to rename Leavenworth Street in front of Lewis Elementary School to ‘John Shepherd Way’ in honor of the esteemed educator and coach, John Shepherd.

John Shepherd, a dedicated educator and coach, began his illustrious career in Excelsior Springs after graduating from William Jewell College in 1959 with a BS in Education. His journey started humbly, with Shepherd and his wife, Mary Joyce, residing first on Kansas City Avenue and then on Elms Boulevard, with a view of Lewis Elementary School, a place that would become a significant part of his life.

Shepherd’s 39-year tenure in education was marked by his commitment to science education at Excelsior Springs Junior High, located in Wyman School, and later as the vice principal at Lewis Middle School. His influence extended beyond the classroom, as he took on roles such as the head basketball coach, assistant football coach, and eventually the Activities Director at Excelsior Springs High School. Collaborating with colleagues like Ed Bush and Vic Bonuchi, Shepherd made a lasting impact on the school’s athletic programs.

What truly set Shepherd apart was his genuine pride in his community and the success of his students. He often expressed his joy in seeing former students thrive in adulthood, many of whom went on to serve on the city council and school board, further cementing his influence on the town’s fabric.

The honorary naming of “John Shepherd Way” is evidence of his indelible mark on Excelsior Springs. It serves as a reminder of the profound impact that educators like Shepherd have on their communities, shaping not just the minds of young people but also the heart of the town itself. As Shepherd himself said, Excelsior Springs will always be home, a sentiment now immortalized on the very streets of the city.

Mary Joyce and JohnShepherd (photo Brian Rice).
John and Mary Joyce pose with former students and coaches (photo Brian Rice).

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