26 May, 1920 – 27 February, 2020
Author and writer Gail Paige Shepherd of Lake Worth Florida died suddenly of complications from a brain tumor on February 24th. She was 62. Gail wrote long-form profiles and investigative pieces and an award-winning restaurant column for New Times in Palm Beach County. Her columns appeared in the Best American Food Writing. She was also an investigative journalist for Palm Beach Free Press. Gail was author of the recently published novel, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins, published by Penguin Books, a Kathy Dawson imprint. The book won four starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the School Library Connection. She graduated from the University of Florida where she also completed an MFA, Summa Cum Laude. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Gail was also a poet, and her work was published in Poetry Magazine, the Yale Review, Black Warrior among others. She was runner up for the Yale Series Younger Poets award two years in a row. She also won a Society of Professional Journalist award for feature writing, and was twice given an award from the Association of Food Journalists for Best Newspaper Restaurant Criticism, and first place James Beard Award for best newspaper feature writing. Gail and her brother published a local newspaper, Red Herring, where in her own words they “poked relentless fun at all of the fancy bigwigs in town, and I hope we made them mighty uncomfortable for a while.” She is survived by her wife, partner and soul-mate of twenty years Amy D’Arecca, her mother June Stalls Shepherd, her brother Richard Shepherd, her sister-in-law Stephanie Shepherd, their children Holden and Sloane, all of Lake Worth, Florida, sister Susan Shepherd, brother-in-law Barry Payne, nieces Harper Lee Shepherd Kaye and Alexandra Payne, all of Boston, Massachusetts. Her sister Lee Shepherd predeceased her. Gail was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She was a hero, friend and mentor to so many of us. We’ll remember the way she challenged our minds and helped us grow as humans. We’ll hear her gentle prose before we fall asleep and we’ll dream of the estimable life she led for us to follow. We will be hosting a Celebration of Life Gathering, Saturday February 29, 2020, from 2-5pm at Quattlebaum Funeral Home, 5411 Okeechobee, Blvd West Palm Beach, with a service at 4pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the World Wildlife Fund, Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, or the Nature Conservancy, or any fund dedicated to preserving the Earth.