Sylvia Shepherd, 89, of La Porte, Indiana, passed away Friday, June 25, 2021 at Northwest Health-La Porte Hospital. She was born in Michigan City, Indiana on April 17, 1932, to the late Ross and Helen (Schultz) Shepherd. After living in Michigan City for five years, her family moved to Chicago for a few years, only to move back to Indiana to live in La Porte after the start of World War II. Sylvia was a graduate of La Porte High School where she was actively involved in many school activities, including writing a column of high school news for the Herald Argus which was the start of a long career in Journalism. During this time, she also was a member of Rainbow Girls where she rose to the level of Worthy Advisor. She was a graduate of Indiana University, where she earned a degree in Journalism and English.
After graduation from college, Sylvia worked for the Indianapolis Star for three years and then the Chicago Tribune for 28 years as a reporter, feature writer, columnist and eventually as senior writer and editor for the Educational Services Department. Upon retirement, Sylvia continued to write on a freelance basis for the Tribune and for several other publications in Chicago. During this time, she began writing a book on the infamous story of Belle Gunness, a notorious murderer whose victims were buried on the Gunness farm in La Porte, Indiana. The book, titled The Mistress of Murder Hill, The Serial Killings of Belle Gunness, was published in 2001. In later years Sylvia returned to her town of La Porte and reunited with her old high school friends where they formed the Golden Girls Club, a group of women from the La Porte High School class of 1950.
Sylvia is survived by a sister, Virginia Taylor; two nieces, Debra Kehoe of Dyer, Indiana and Patricia Cundiff of Lexington, Kentucky; two nephews, Steven Taylor of La Porte and Jeffrey Taylor of South Bend; and her long-time friend, Dee DeVincent, who cared for her when she became disabled due to advanced spinal stenosis and most recently when Sylvia suffered a severe stroke. She was preceded in death by her parents; a nephew, Donald and her brother-in-law, Jack Taylor.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 1, 2021, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana. Pastor JoEllyn Chadwick will officiate. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. prior to the service in the funeral home. Burial will be at Pine Lake Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Yana Service Club, 1621 Roberts Road, La Porte, Indiana 46350.
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