Cover photo for Hollis Andrew "Andy" Shepard's Obituary

Hollis Andrew "Andy" Shepard

January 23, 1961 — April 10, 2023

Hollis Andrew "Andy" Shepard

Hollis Andrew “Andy” Shepard, 62, entered into the arms of Jesus on the evening of April 10, 2023 at the Salem Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Conway, AR surrounded by his mom, sister, and nieces. Andy loved God, his family, his church, and the Arkansas Razorbacks. He also loved giving hugs, smiling, singing - especially “Happy Birthday,” and he liked to be the one to say the blessing before a meal. Andy was born in Bakersfield, CA on January 23, 1961. He was born with Down Syndrome, but no one would use the word “down” to describe Andy because he always had a way of lifting you up!

First of all, Andy was a survivor! The doctors told his mother, Cookie, when he was born that Andy would not walk, talk, or live past the age of 30. Cookie and his father, Jay, set out to prove the doctors wrong. The family left California and moved back to Arkansas. In 1968, at the age of 7, he was one of the first 65 boys to open the Arkansas Children’s Colony in Arkadelphia, AR, a residential school and home away from home for children with special needs. He lived there for 13 years.

As it was said earlier, Andy was a survivor. In 1975, a tornado destroyed Crystal Hill Baptist Church. Andy was in a car parked in front of the church with his Uncle Butch, sisters Beverly and Sheila, and 4 cousins when the tornado hit. The car shook with debris hitting it, and all of the kids crowded on top of each other on the floorboards as the windows blew out. Sheila suffered a minor injury but everyone was able to walk away.

Andy could be playful and full of mischief! One time, Andy, his daddy Jay, and Charles Selby had gone fishing and had just gotten back home. Jay told Andy to go fix Charles a glass of lemonade. Andy was gone for a long time. When he came back, Charles took a big gulp of lemonade and asked, “What took you so long?” Andy smiled and said, “Me lick all your ice!”

Andy could be a hard worker! With the help of Easter Seals, he was hired by Kroger in 1991 where he bagged groceries, corralled grocery carts, and never met a stranger. For example, Andy and Cookie were at Disney World in Florida standing in a very long line. A mother walking by with her son looked over, and said to Andy, “I know you! You work at the Kroger in Little Rock!”

Andy was someone you didn’t forget! Andy was with his family in downtown Little Rock watching the Christmas parade. Santa was there riding on a fire truck. As the fire truck went by, Santa leaned toward the family, waved, and said, “Hi Andy!” Andy’s mother, Cookie, asked Andy, “Was that one of your Kroger customers?” Andy said, “No, Mama, that is Santa Claus!”

1998 was a big year for Andy! He was selected the VIP Ambassador for Arkansas Easter Seals. He got to meet Governor Mike Huckabee, Arkansas Razorback Coach Houston Nutt, former Razorback football star David Bazzel, and radio celebrity Craig O’Neal. Andy was thrilled!

Andy had a big heart! Andy’s father, Jay, was very sick and there was a question about Jay losing a kidney. Without a second thought Andy said, “Him can have one of mine.”

Andy did not have a big heart related to his sister, Beverly, getting married! At her wedding, Andy planned to speak up when the preacher asked if anyone objected to the wedding. He said he did not want Beverly to get married because she wouldn’t be able to take him to the bus stop anymore! He did learn to love weddings years later when his niece, Brandy, asked for him to give her away at her wedding. He walked her down the aisle with pride in his step, joy in his eyes, and a big smile on his face! 

Andy could be playfully boastful! Andy worked at Kroger with pay increases about every year. His niece, Lisa, worked at Harvest Foods, Kroger’s competition. Andy was glad she was working in the grocery business, but he never let her forget that his paycheck was more than hers! 

Andy retired from Kroger in 2014 after 23 years of service. We guess you could say that Kroger couldn’t survive without Andy because it wasn’t very long after he retired that the Kroger store where he worked closed. 

After retirement Andy became a client at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Arkansas. He received therapy there and eventually became a live-in resident of their group home. His health began to deteriorate and he was moved into several rehab centers towards the end of his life. His family knew the end was near. In his final days it could be said that the Special Olympics pledge summed up his battle with dementia.  He had participated in the Special Olympics for several years when he was younger receiving multiple medals and ribbons. As a competitor, he recited the Special Olympics pledge, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Andy was brave.

Andy was preceded in death by his father, Jay Shepard; his sister, Sheila Jaye Hopper; and brother, Ronnie Shepard. He is survived by his mother, Edna “Cookie” Shepard of Little Rock, AR; his sister, Beverly Wade (Olin) of East End, AR; his brother, Johnny Shepard of Knobel, AR; nephews W.C. Shepard of Booneville, AR; Eric Wade (ReShae) of Benton, AR; Ryan Wade (Beccy) of Lone Oak, TX; nieces Lisa Teters (Buddy) of Maumelle, AR; Brandy McIntire (Seth) of Roland, AR; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, great-nephews, great-nieces, and extended family.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Special Olympics Arkansas ( or UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) of Arkansas ( If you do choose to send flowers, the family's preferred florist is Floral Express, 501-666-3196,

Andy’s Celebration of Life will be held at Crystal Hill Baptist Church, 18823 Crystal Valley Road in Little Rock, AR on Saturday, April 22. Visitation will be 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., with funeral service immediately following.


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Saturday, April 22, 2023

11:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Starts at 12:00pm (Central time)

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