Murphy Funeral Homes


Colleen Gallagher Sheppard

April 8, 1954March 14, 2021

Colleen Gallagher Sheppard was born on April 8, 1954 and passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, on March 14, 2021. Colleen is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Ruth Gallagher, her sisters Mellen Sheppard and Ruth Iverson, her niece Brigid Sheppard and her nephew Kevin Gallagher. Colleen is survived by her husband Bob, children Natasha and Nicholai, siblings Maureen Dyer (Mike), Tim Gallagher (Juliette) and Brigid Pope (Wes), Brothers-in-law Bill Sheppard and Kris Iverson, nieces Nikki Rowney (Peter), Caroline Gallagher, Kelsey Calabro (Chris) and Erin Pope, nephews Ivan Iverson (Sanam), Samm Iverson (Megan), Kris Dyer (Ann), Ben Dyer (Brittany), Matthew Gallagher, Joe Pope, Patrick Gallagher and Michael Gallagher, grandnieces Madison Dyer, Charlotte Calabro, Carly Dyer and Sophia Calabro, grandnephews Mason and Austin Dyer and Wesley Calabro.

A graduate of Langley High School, Catholic University (B.S. Economics), and George Washington University (MBA, MHA), Colleen was a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and served as a Health Care Executive in the Department of Veterans Affairs and later as a Health Care Consultant at Booz, Allen and Hamilton.

After one date, Colleen and Bob were engaged and were married for 40 years. They traveled the world together – including a trip to Russia to adopt Natasha and Nicholai. Colleen was a loving mother, aunt and great aunt. Each year at Christmas, she hosted the larger family for “dirty Santa.” Her nephews and nieces loved her “cousins weeks” and her grand-nephews and grand-nieces loved their “Coco.” Outside of work and family, Colleen was always generous with her time, serving in Arlington Public School PTAs, teaching religious education at St. Anne’s Catholic church, and working as a volunteer at the Virginia Hospital Center. She loved music (especially the Beatles), golf, reading, travel and the beach. If you would like to make a contribution in her memory to the ACLU, she would smile down at you for it.

An open house in celebration of her life will be held at her home in Arlington on April 10th from 2 to 8pm. If you need directions, please contact Bob at Formal services and inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery will follow at a later date to be determined.


  • Memorial Gathering

    Saturday, April 10, 2021


Colleen Gallagher Sheppard

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lynn Fry

March 22, 2021

We met Colleen and Bob in 1985. My husband and Colleen worked together and then I worked with and for her later at the medical Center. We vacationed at the Outer Banks together and just gathered socially over the 4 years we were there. Always a good time with them and there was wine involved which seems to be a common denominator with everyone. The last couple of years I was fortunate to be with her several times. Those memories will be very special. Colleen will be missed...

Nancy Thompson

March 21, 2021

Colleen, I know you are 'still right here', just not in the human form we are used to seeing you in. You are back in your true form - vibrational form, at the soul level. Now you know the secrets of why you came to spend time on Earth in a 'human suit'! Something the rest of us are still figuring out! My memories of working with you in VA Headquarters are all ones of support and laughter! Your wisdom and guidance helped me many a time, and thus, ultimately helped Veterans. You showed courage in going to Russia to adopt Natasha and Nicholai! Such bravery, but you knew that is what you wanted and you went after it! It doesn't seem right you left us so young, but perhaps you had learned what you came here to learn, and it was your time to return back to your true form, shedding the form you took on for this life! I'll never forget that you told me, when I said I didn't have a golf handicap. You said, "Nancy, it's really easy. If you are golfing 120 or better on 18 holes, you just talk to the pro and they can set you up to get your handicap. Simple!" I had to recover from the laughter at the ease with which you assumed (oh, so incorrectly!) that of course, I was golfing at 120 or better! I know you are laughing at that story now, too! I know you are here, just in a form we aren't so good at sensing. May all your precious family know you are with them, just in a different form, and remember to still talk to you and send you their love. I know you are 'still right here'!

Father Gallagher

March 18, 2021

My heart aches for her death and for the loss to Bob and the rest of her family. Our of the many children of the late Joe and Ruth Gallagher, she was the most serious, philosophic and spiritual one. We shared deeply over the past nine years in the times we visited with one another. She was affirming and accepting of me, not because I was clergy person but as someone who is brotherly and she a sister.
My consolation is that she is now with other loving people -Joe, Ruthie, younger Ruth and Mary Ellen and they with her. God has arms outstretched and embrace Colleen as we all wish we could at this time.

Chrysanthe Courniotes

March 18, 2021

When I heard the news of Colleen’s passing, I was shaken because I had literally thought about her over the weekend and was going to reach out to wish her a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Colleen was one of the best human beings I got the pleasure to work with at BAH. She managed projects in a reasonable way where they all got done well but no one ever overstressed. She was the consummate professional but an even better friend and mentor. After my Mom’s passing, I received a text from Colleen that read, “She fought a good fight, and is no longer suffering”, so in that same vain, I hope you,CoCo, are no longer suffering, and that you and Momma C share some laughs and spanakopita together! You will be missed by your family and friends for eternity. We all have so many memories that will also live on for eternity! With deepest sympathy and love, CC

Ellie Cochran

March 17, 2021

Charlie and I always enjoyed connecting up with Colleen and Bob when we were in town. She always had a glass of wine ready for me, and Bob had a glass of beer for Charlie. She was so gracious and every meal we shared together was special, even if it was only pizza. We loved listening to her hilarious stories. And you never had to guess where she stood on any topic. Colleen we will miss you on our visits. I will be sure to tip a glass of wine to you on our shared birthday.

Mary Plante

March 17, 2021

So many Wonderful memories, spending all the time I could with Colleen and her parents and sibblings. The Happiest days of my life, spending evenings in Newport, talking through the Whole night. Thank you all

Charleen Szabo

March 17, 2021

Colleen and I met and worked together for the Great Lakes and Western VHA Regions, back in late 80s/ early 90s. Colleen’s legacy of humor, dedication, expertise, and commitment to “make a difference” will always be cherished. My deepest sympathy to her beautiful family.

kathy lockhart

March 17, 2021

We hoped for the senior LPGA

Janice Phiffer

March 17, 2021

My sadness is hard to express. Colleen was a constant in my life in the 20+ years I lived in and around DC. She was always a source of wise advice, a glass of wine and a hilarious story. Her wonderful family will have many memories to reflect on as time heals. My love to all and my thoughts are with you. I wish you comfort and wonderful reflections of Colleen over the coming months.

SUSAN Pendergrass

March 17, 2021

Colleen will live on with us in out memories of her smile,love ,humor and caring of others. I hope to pass her on through reflecting her essence in how I live. Will miss her and love her dearly. May her memories warm you