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William Sheppit

William "Bill" Sheppit was born December 25, 1911, in Gardenton, Manitoba, Canada. At the early age of 7 Bill's family moved to Minnesota and this is where he completed his schooling. Bill returned to Manitoba and at the age of 29 he enlisted in the army to serve his country in World War II as a Private in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. He was sent overseas in June 1940 and while there met his lifelong wife, Doris, and was married in London England in 1942. Eventually they had two children,son David and daughter Pauline; both to this day reside in Regina.

When Bill was discharged from the army October 3, 1946, he had achieved the level of Warrant Officer I, Mechanist Sergeant Major. It was this training and experience that provided Bill the basic tools and instincts which would carry him thru his working life. Bill often said that "you shouldn't be afraid to get your hands dirty working" and he was always "getting in there" helping fix or correct a problem even if it wasn't of his doing.

Shortly after being discharged from the army Bill purchased the Esso garage in Charleswood, Manitoba and built the business up and sold it in 1950 at which time he started his sales career starting with Imperial Oil. He became very knowledgeable on Gilbarco Gasoline pumps and later oil burners. Bill left Imperial Oil to work for lR Stephenson Ltd. having been lured away by owner Jim Stephenson and in 1953 Bill and Doris and family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan to start up the Gasoline Pump Division under Bill Stephenson, Jim's brother.

The heating industry was progressing from shovelled coal energy to stoked fed coal and this was Bill Stephens-Olis area of expertise. Bill Sheppits interests went far beyond "stoker" as he began developing lines for the heating and air conditioning business. In 1956 Bill Sheppit became manager of the Heating and Air Conditioning Department as well as managing the Gasoline Pump Division.

The industry had now moved from coal to oil as the prime energy source and then on to natural gas. Bill was instrumental in building lR Stephenson into a very significant player in the industry acquiring and developing lines such as Volcano, Taco, Rheem/Rudd, Hydrotherm, Markhot, Greenneck and Krueger to mention a few, and under his tutorage became the training ground for many in the heating industry.

Bill was one of the founding members of the Saskatchewan Chapter of ASHRAE which was first organized October 25, 1962, with other notable names as Bob Yoneda (Pres.) William Herr (VP) Reg Briggs, Toar Springstein, Don Daniels, Lynn Wilkinson and Geo Green.

Bill was appointed chairman of the Saskatchewan Chapter Committee which was organized to form an ASHRAE Chapter for Saskatchewan so it would seem reasonable to name him "Father of the Regina Chapter" .

The Chapter received its charter March 22, 1963, and Bill and Doris were among the head table quests joining Mayor H.P. Baker, John Fox, John Ross, Percy Butler, Ed and Mrs. Deeves, Ed and Mrs. Cole, Ken McCartney, Vass Carroll and Bob and Mrs. Yoneda.

From oil as the main energy source the industry moved rapidly to natural gas and Bill's ability to adapt to change kept J.R. Stephenson "in the game".

Bill continued to be a strong member of ASHRAE and its activities over the years always being a contributor and participant. Bill sat on many positions with ASHRAE on the Board of Governors but would never accept the nomination for President.

On March 6, 1963, Director John Ross of Region II sent to Bill the Ross Trophy for Annual Curling Competition among the Prairie Chapters of ASHRAE. Bill curled in the John Ross Competition in Calgary in 1964 with the Nelson Greene rink and again in 1965 with the L -Wilkinson rink that competed unsuccessfully in Regina for the trophy. He also curled with Trevor Harle, R. Theaker and Mel Hounjet in Edmonton in 1978.

In addition to his ASHRAE curling Bill was almost always a participant in the Regina Chapter Markcast Bonspiel and the Mechanical Contractors Bonspiels as well.

In 1972 Bill served as a panel member on a Chapter sponsored meeting whose topic was Shop Drawings. Others on the panel were Lawrence Penno, Al Thompson and Don Bennett with Glen Peterson as moderator.

In 1974 he again served on a panel with Wilson Phillips, Ray Knourek and Trevor Harle on the topic "Firm Price Bidding and Price Escalation".

For many years Bill was known among his friends for his potent home made wine, much of it provided from the fruit trees in his back yard. Another favourite pastime was card games and he delighted in taking a quarter from anyone in a cribbage game.

Bill also made a yearly goose hunting trip to the Leader, Saskatchewan area with Jim Stephenson of Winnipeg and Asa Burns from Calgary.

In addition to Bills' commitment to ASHRAE he was also a member of the Queen City Kiwanis and the Wa-Wa Shrine Temple in Regina of which he was potentate in 1974.

Bill retired from J.R. Stephenson in August of 1982 and passed away February 15th 1994.

Bill left a legacy of being one of the industries true good persons and many in the industry owe him a debt of gratitude. Bill often said that he truly believed he didn't have an enemy in the business which we can all attest to.

 

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