September 19, 1938 - November 6, 2022
The early love of jazz
is a special gene
that never dies
Harvey Shepard, UNH physics professor emeritus, died on November 6 at his home in New York City. He was born in Chicago in 1938, the son of Rudy and Birdie Shepard, and graduated from the Univ of Illinois Phi Beta Kappa in 1960. He received his PhD in physics at Caltech and came to New Hampshire in 1969 to begin a 38 year teaching and research career in particle physics and then nonlinear systems.
At UNH he chaired the physics department and co-founded the interdisciplinary nonlinear study group. His articles appeared in more than 50 publications covering particle physics, nonlinear dynamics, biophysics, and mathematical physics. With a longstanding interest in philosophy, literature, and psychology, his academic and other pursuits often included the humanities.
His passion for jazz brought him into contact with many area musicians and jazz aficionados, and for many years he chaired the Seacoast Jazz Society and remained on its board. Harvey began his love affair with jazz in his early teens. One big influence was the radio show of DJ Holmes “Daddy-0” Daylie. Among the jazz artists he saw live in Chicago and at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana were the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Oscar Peterson. He also recalls seeing the movie “No Sun in Venice” featuring the music of the Modern Jazz Quartet while in college. His roommate was a music composition major so he hung around with many musicians and was present when the visionary composer Harry Partch visited for a term.
Harvey was also active in the Seacoast poetry community, serving on the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program selection committee and cochairing the monthly PPLP Poetry Hoot. He hosted a poetry writing group for many years, the Unlicensed Poets. His poems have been published in Poetry East, Poet Lore, The Connecticut River Review, Psychotherapy Review, Roanoke Review, The Portsmouth Herald, and numerous anthologies and online journals.
A longtime resident of New Hampshire who moved to New York in 2019, Harv was married for 35 years to Kathy Brownback, teacher emerita of religion and philosophy at Phillips Exeter Academy. She survives him along with his two sons, Eliot and Nate Shepard, both of New York, his three grandchildren Lilian, Avery, and Rex, his beloved dog Ollie, and an extended family of good friends and colleagues.
Gifts in his honor may be made to the Seacoast Jazz Society, care of Charlie Jennison at Seacoast Jazz Society at PO Box 49, Durham, NH 03824. Condolences to the family may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.