September 30, 1924 - February 21, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY What a vigorous, blessed life! Helen Gae Earley (Shepherd) was born at University Hospital in Oklahoma City on September 30, 1924, to Helen Estelle Cox and Gay Andrew Earley. Gae passed away on February 21, 2013. Due to family circumstances, Gae and her only brother, Patrick Andrew Earley, were raised by their Aunt Edna Earley Hofer. Gae was a 1942 graduate of Classen High School. In 1944, she married Robert G. Jones, a USAF pilot, and they were stationed in the Philippines for a year. Together, they had three children: Daniel R. Shepherd, David E. Shepherd, and Judith H. Shepherd (Clopp). Gae was active in the Red Cross and served as a Doughnut Dolly for the USO during WW II. In 1949, she was widowed and moved back to the U.S. while expecting her third child. Soon thereafter, she found employment as a copygirl for the Oklahoma Publishing Company. E.K. Gaylord was instrumental in seeing that young, hardworking people like Gae were afforded a position at The Daily Oklahoman. In 1953, Gae married Derald E. Shepherd, who promptly adopted her children. Together, they had one child, Laura A. Shepherd (Madsen). In 1954, Gae enjoyed being the owner and operator of Gae's Toy Town in Bartlesville, OK. The following decade, she and her family moved to Oklahoma City, where she worked in the traffic department at KWTV-Channel 9 and retired after 10 years of service in the traffic department at OETA-Channel 13. During her time at OETA, Gae received the first Louie Vineyard Memorial Award, which she greatly treasured. For five years, she was an active member and served as president of the OKC Pilot Club International. Gae was raised in the Congregational Church and, in her later life, joined the Presbyterian Church. Upon her retirement, she returned to the Congregational Church and eventually served as a deacon. Gae's zest for life and compassion for her fellow man serve as a testament to her blessed legacy. Not a day passed that she wasn't grateful for life's daily blessings bestowed upon her. Her love of Sinatra's music, eating chocolate, gambling, visiting garage sales, and good conversations with friends made her the happiest. She was preceded in death by both husbands; her son, David; her brother, Patrick; and her nephew, Richard Earley. She is survived by her children: Dan Shepherd (Sue), OKC, OK; Judy Clopp (Ron), Yukon, OK; and Laura Shepherd-Madsen (Pete), Mustang, OK; grandchildren: Paula Clopp-Ward (David), Yukon, OK; and Matthew Clopp (Shannon), Yukon, OK; great-grandchildren, Tristan, Jordan, and Ashlyn Clopp, Yukon, OK; nephews: Michael Earley, OKC, OK; and Timothy (Debbie) Earley, OKC, OK; and niece, Eileen Earley-Tran (Danh), OKC, OK. The love of her native state of Oklahoma, her keen sense of humor, and compassion toward others will be greatly missed. If desired, memorial donations can be made to macular degeneration research at the Bright Focus Foundation (www.ahaf.org) or, to commemorate her kindred spirit, perform a random act of kindness for someone. Viewing will be Today, 12-8 p.m. at the funeral home, with the family greeting friends 6-8 p.m. Services are 10 a.m. Monday at Vondel Smith's South Colonial Chapel. Friends may leave condolences at www.vondelsmithmortuary.com

Published in The Oklahoman on Feb. 24, 2013