Cover photo for Bradley  B. Shepard's Obituary
Bradley  B. Shepard Profile Photo
1952 Bradley 2021

Bradley B. Shepard

June 12, 1952 — September 23, 2021

Brad Shepard died suddenly and unexpectedly on September 23, 2021. He died going fishing on his island on the Yellowstone River with his favorite fishing partner, his son Ben, by his side.Bradley Bernard Shepard was born in Dayton, Ohio to Joyce Grierson Shepard and Charles Y. Shepard. He headed West as soon as he was out of high school, settling in Bozeman, Montana.Brad found his passion very early in life, fishing with his grandfather, Ben Grierson, at the tender age of 2 years old. He earned a B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University in 1975, M.S. in Fisheries Resources from the University of Idaho in 1981, and Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology from MSU in 2010, where he served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ecology for the past ten years.Brad was a legendary fisheries biologist who devoted his career to research, management, and conservation of native fish in Montana and beyond. His career spanned more than 40 years working as a fisheries biologist, manager, researcher, and professor. He worked over 30 years as a fisheries biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, four years as a senior aquatic scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the past six years with his own private consulting firm, contributing his expertise to numerous agencies, tribes, and conservation organizations throughout the western United States and Canada. Brad held many positions working as a fisheries biologist throughout Montana and traveled across the state to assist his colleagues and the fish he loved so much. His career took him from the largest Montana rivers with sturgeon and bull trout, to the smallest mountain streams with native cutthroat trout and grayling. He relished working with colleagues in the field, often stating "Where would you rather be?" Numerous fisheries projects were conceived through endless discussions while sampling fish or sitting around a campfire at night. Brad championed all native fish and habitat conservation, but there is no doubt that his tireless efforts working on issues facing native Westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Montana and surrounding states stand out as a career highlight, representing an enduring legacy of his long and outstanding career. Brad loved his "cuttie buddies", and cutthroat trout in Montana have no better friend than Brad Shepard. Brad's dedication and passion for native fish influenced and inspired generations of fisheries students, technicians, biologists, and managers, and laid the foundation for the many cutting-edge fisheries conservation and management efforts being implemented in Montana and elsewhere today. He particularly enjoyed mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and had an enormous impact on the early careers and pathways of many biologists that were fortunate to have worked with him. During his career, he published a long list of papers on his research, many of which are considered seminal papers in fisheries science and native trout conservation. Brad was an active member of the American Fisheries Society, serving as President of the Montana Chapter in 1995, winning the prestigious career achievement award in 2009, and leading efforts to bring science to policy on many fish and habitat conservation issues across the West. Brad leaves behind his wife Mary Lennon of Livingston, Montana, and two children, Ben Shepard of Bozeman and Madison (Sam Chiriboga) Shepard of Rohnert Park, CA. He is also survived by his brother, John (Cheryl) Shepard of Redwood City, CA, and cousins Elizabeth (Russell) SanFilippo of Huntington Beach, and David Shepard of San Pedro, CA. He also leaves his many nieces and nephews. Brad was preceded in death by his parents, Chuck and Joyce Shepard; his grandparents Frieda and Ben Grierson and Morton and Mary Shepard, all of Ohio; aunts and uncles John and Roberta Shepard, and Ann (Shepard) and William Hays.No service is planned, but a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Livingston Food Pantry, 202 S. 2nd St, Livingston, MT 59047; Trout Unlimited, 321 E Main St #411, Bozeman, MT 59715; or Wild Montana, 80 S Warren St., Helena, MT 59601 .
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