The family of Donald (Don) H. Shedd, 90, is celebrating his life and service to others following his passing at home May 20, 2017.
A person of strong convictions and a deep commitment to stewardship, Don actively helped others throughout his life, personally and in service groups, living the Boy Scout slogan: “do a good turn daily”. It was especially clear since relocating the family to Monroe in 1971. When Don began building Red Cross in Walton County, service and volunteering had become his mission in life. In 1974, he became the volunteer Chapter Manager of Walton County Red Cross. The Shedds’ business building became Red Cross headquarters where they taught countless health and safety courses and disaster training courses. Volunteers were trained and responded 24/7 to every fire or other local emergency. Red Cross provided for the immediate needs of food, shelter, clothing and medical attention as well as some long term help. Don worked more than 30 national disasters and conducted training courses all over the country. Matthew 25:35-40 represents his service. On his last day, he was recognized by a caregiver as “Mr. Red Cross”. A fitting tribute to a life of unselfish stewardship.
Among his notable contributions was the creation of On Stage. Sensing a need for a local theater group, he worked with the Junior Service League and others to produce the first play, Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”. MACHS students and teachers put on numerous plays and in 1974 the Monroe Little Theatre was formed as On Stage. Don and his wife, Edith, were original and longtime Board members. Negotiating with the City of Monroe, On Stage moved into the former Primitive Baptist Church on High School Avenue. Over the years Don worked with many renovations of the old building. His last role was in “Inherit the Wind”. Several years ago On Stage honored the Shedds for their service in bringing “a little culture to our town.”
Don filled many positions in the Kiwanis Club of Monroe, including President (1992), Treasurer, Kiwanian of the Year, and honored as the club’s oldest member. He organized the nationally recognized Walk for Mankind and led the purchase, management and operation of a concessions trailer – all to generate funds for scholarships. Don’s natural white beard added credibility to his role as Santa Claus. Beginning locally, he was a roving Santa visiting young and old alike on the streets, stores and mall. He recorded in a big leather alphabetized book each conversation; if he saw the child a second time, he could find the one gift the one gift the child had asked for. Yes, one item, that way, there would be enough to go around.
He also worked at Peachtree Center in Atlanta; made commercials; appeared as Santa on CNN for some 30 years; had a long standing engagement was with families at Atlanta’s Byrnwick community, visiting home after home on Christmas Eve – a cherished tradition for many families that often led to big parties, some featuring foreign Christmas customs. He never lied to children when asked if he was real. His response was “Santa is as real as love.” He helped establish Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens – for families and school kids to learn about the outdoors, including walking trails, birding areas and buildings with classrooms and exhibit areas. He volunteered for 20 years on the Board of the Citizens Advisory Council on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse. The Walton County Soil and Water Conservation District recognized in 2016 Don and Edith as Conservationists of the Year.
Don was dedicated to his wife and family, each of whom provide service to others in various ways. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Edith Stallings Shedd, four children: Kathy Biancardi and her husband Tony Biancardi, Pittsboro NC; Louise Reese and her husband Lee Reese, Watkinsville GA; Jane Erwin and her husband Bobby Erwin, Athens GA; and Alan Shedd and his wife Cheryl Shedd, Oakwood GA; grandsons Jeff Biancardi, Raleigh NC and Chris Hatch, Easley SC; and three great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday, May 30, 7:00-9:00 pm at Meadows Funeral Home, Monroe. Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Red Cross, Laura Allen, Executive Director, 490 Pulaski St., Athens GA 30606. Sign guest book online: http://www.meadowsfuneralhomeinc.com/sig