Hattie Louise Shepard, 82, aerobics instructor known as the ‘Senior Exercise Icon’

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Hattie Louise Shepard
Hattie Louise Shepard

Hattie Louise Shepard, 82, of Wilmington, with her contagious smile, unconditionally touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with. Realizing the struggles of this life was becoming tedious for her, God gently sent His loving angel of mercy to transition her home Friday, June 3, 2016.

Hattie was the lovely daughter of the late James and Lizzie Delanie born on September 6, 1933.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Johnny Delanie and James Delaine Jr.; and grandson, Shannon Bernard Drye.

A devoted child of God, Hattie confessed Christ early in life, and lived a life that honored God. She was a dedicated member of First Baptist Missionary Church, where she served faithfully until her illness. Hattie’s life exemplified the love and compassion that she generously shared with countless family and friends.

Hattie graduated from Rosenwald High School in Society Hills, S.C. She was employed by Eckerds, Timmie Corporation, New Hanover Housing Authority and New Hanover County Schools until her retirement. She was also a loyal and active Daughter of Isis, Habib Court No. 159 in Wilmington.

Hattie’s passions included exercising, serving others through volunteer work and entering various competitions. She taught exercise classes to senior citizens, and volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program. Hattie entered and won the 11th Annual Senior Games by the Sea Contest, various pep rallies, step-aerobics competitions and 10K cycling events. She received silver medals for step-aerobics events. She was named North Carolina Senior Pageant Sweetheart Queen and known throughout the city as the Senior Exercise Icon. Hattie took most pride in healthy living and staying in shape.

Deeply engraved in the hearts and minds of her loved ones and friends are so many precious indelible memories. Hattie leaves to cherish these memories her husband of 45 years, Herbert Randolph ‘Shep’ Shepard; two children, Darnell (Kim) Kelly of Chesapeake, Va., and Janet Kelly-Grady of Wilmington; four grandchildren, Kiara Kelly, Sylvia Kelly of Wilmington, Kimpus Kelly of Charlotte and Desha (Dion) Bonner of Jacksonville, Fla.; six great-grandchildren, Isaiah Kelly, Elijah Kelly, Jakeelah Kelly, Dion Bonner Jr., De’nee Bonner and Dayanna Bonner; three sisters, Rachel Harvey and Mabel Evans of New York and Geraldine Dixon of Florence, S.C.; four brothers, Collins (Christina) Delanie and Thurlo (Olivia) Delanie of Florence, S.C., Albertus (Louise) Delaine of Hartsville, S.C., and retired Sgt. Major Deacon Connell (Dorothy) Delanie of Society Hill, S.C.; two aunts, Helen Byrd and Rosena Robinson of Society, S.C.; one uncle, Delone (Pansy) Jones of Conn.; and other brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, along with countless relatives and friends.

Services were held Friday June 10, at First Baptist Missionary Baptist Church, 520 N. 5th Ave., Wilmington. Burial followed in Greenlawn Memorial Park.

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