Shepard Curelop passed away on February 6, 2016. During his near half century in the radio and television industry, he was known as Steve Shepard professionally, although to his friends and family he was known as Shep.
He was the oldest son of Abraham and Jennie Curelop who came to America in 1913 from Latvia and Ukrania to escape Czarist persecution. Shep was born in Chelsea, MA (Boston, MA) on February 28, 1924. His childhood interest in the theatre led him to the professional stage at age 14, acting on Broadway, touring the country, and performing in summer stock productions. He graduated high school from the Professional Children’s School of New York in 1941. He enrolled in the University of Wisconsin at Madison from 1941-1943, actively studying theatre. His academic career was interrupted by WWII, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and proudly served as an infantry soldier and officer for 3 ½ years, including a one year tour in Trieste, Italy. He returned to his theatrical career in New York in 1947, and then moved into the dynamic field of radio broadcasting. His childhood enthusiasm and familiarity with the games of the Boston Red Sox led him to become a play by play sportscaster in Pocatello, ID, and Omaha, NE for the St. Louis Cardinal’s farm team. Shep moved into radio management in Omaha in 1958 until 1977, when he learned of a management opening for a classical station in Houston As a life long lover of classical music, it was a dream come true. During his tenure as a Vice President/Manager of KLEF, he instituted many program features, some of which still exist in the industry today. He secured the rights to broadcast the entire season of the Houston Symphony, which was not being aired at the time, and seasons of the Grand Opera, The Round Top Festival, Music From the Movies and others. When KLEF changed its classical music format in 1988, Shep petitioned the University of Houston to change its jazz format to classical and gave the entire KLEF record library to them in order to encourage them to make the change, which they accepted. He worked continuously as a radio and television broadcaster and station manager in Omaha, NE, Portland, OR and Houston, TX from 1948 until his retirement in 1995.
Shep married Beverley Houston Eddens in 1975, when they both knew they were blessed with the chance to begin life anew with their combined families of six children. Shep’s family and his beloved Bev were his greatest treasures. Their family includes sons Steven M. Curelop (Martine), Carey L. Curelop (Susan), daughter, Cassandra L. Harmon (Michael), step-son Quince Eddens (Kelly), step-daughter, Ruth Buchanan (Joe), and daughter-in-law Kathy Eddens. He is also survived by fourteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Shep was preceded in death by his first wife Patricia Curelop, son, Christopher Curelop, and step-son, Christopher Eddens.
Shep and Bev have been active members of Congregation Beth Israel for 36 years. Their lives have been enriched by their participation in many programs, including the Beth Israel Havurah. They enjoyed a life of reading and their involvement in the Lone Star Book Club of the Tomball Library, and many friends they made there. They also found great joy in their volunteer work at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as working with the Houston Symphony School Concerts.
Shep and Beverley traveled widely in Europe, Canada, and Israel, pursuing performances of theatrical and visual arts, including 27 seasons of the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.
Shepard took great pride in his family, his career, and was a great mentor to many in the broadcasting industry.
Memorial Donations may be made in Shep’s name to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Research Foundation or the American Cancer Society.