How old Lucius Shepard was when he died proved to be a controversial question here.
Shepard’s Wikipedia entry and the obit posted at the SFWA Blog listed 1947 as the year of his birth. However, I followed the Science Fiction Encyclopedia’s lead and reported he was born in 1943.
Which is right?
The 1947 date was favored by Shepard. It appears in his official bio. He also did not demur when Jason S. Ridler posed a question in a Clarkesworld interview that stated the writer was 33 when he went to Clarion – assuming a 1947 birth date.
However, with Dave Langford’s help I was able to learn more about the SF Encyclopedia’s preference for 1943, based on Mike Ashley’s search of the public record.
- The 1945 Florida census includes a Lucius Shepard, age 2, listed as born in Virginia. (Shepard’s official bio states he was born in Lynchburg, VA.)
- The US Public Records Office lists Lucius T. Shepard as living in Seattle in 1993, with a birth year of 1943.
- Finally, Shepard said he attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill — and a Lucius T. I. Shepard is listed as attending there in 1962 aged about 20.
So there’s persuasive support in official records for a 1943 birth date, in which case Shepard was 70 years old when he died.
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