Tallassee residents are mourning the death of Spencer Sheppard, a well-liked character who befriended many in the community.
Sheppard, 58, passed away last week from natural causes associated with diabetes, according to the Elmore County coroner.
Sheppard was from Marion County but spent most of his life in Tallassee. Most afternoons he was found sitting on the bench outside of Cozumel Restaurant and lived in a small space behind the post office on Gilmer Avenue.
Christy Bonner, owner of Bonner's Medical Supply, said Sheppard was a gift to all who took the time to get to know him.
“We used to see him walking the streets, sitting on the bench by Cozumel, at Hardees and many other places around Tallassee,” she said. “He loved speaking to everyone. Most often he would ask for spare change or an extra cigarette.”
Bonner said she first met Sheppard after her children befriended him.
“The kids around town loved joking with him, giving him rides and just having a good time with him,” Bonner said.
Bonner said she still catches herself looking for Sheppard to walk around the corner outside of the medical supply store on Gilmer Avenue.
“Spencer will be missed,” she said. “He passed away suddenly. Tallassee will never be quite the same without him. God bless Spencer and may you have a peaceful and blessed life, as he would say.”
Bonner said several of the boys Sheppard befriended are working to place a plaque on the bench outside of Cozumel to honor him. The Bonner family also has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the memorial plaque and the cost of cremation.
Sheppard had no relatives in Tallassee but Bonner located his sister in Orlando, Florida.
“They have not seen each other in several years,” Bonner said. “We hope to have her on a Greyhound bus on her way here soon.”
So far, the GoFundMe account has raised $890 through 22 donations and $1,999 is needed to cover the funeral cost. To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/spencer-sheppard-burial-page.