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Thaddeus J. Sheppard, Buffalo police officer May 25, 1923 -- Feb. 7, 2006

Thaddeus J. Sheppard, a retired Buffalo police officer honored on at least two occasions for rescuing people from burning buildings, died Tuesday in his Town of Tonawanda home after a brief illness. He was 82.

Known as Ted, he was born in Buffalo and was a graduate of Burgard Vocational High School.

A Marine Corps veteran of World War II, he served aboard amphibious tanks making the first waves of attack on Okinawa, Guam and the Marshall Islands. He received a Purple Heart after being wounded by a grenade during the Okinawa landing.

Mr. Sheppard joined the Buffalo Police Department in 1950 and received numerous awards for bravery and heroism during his 35-year career.

In 1955, while a patrolman with the Louisiana Station, he placed a ladder to the edge of a burning foundry, allowing two firefighters to flee the roof just before it collapsed. In 1964, while a patrolman assigned to the Genesee Station, he entered a smoke-filled home to help firefighters rescue an infant.

Mr. Sheppard was a detective sergeant in the Robbery Squad when he retired in 1985.

He was a member of several police organizations; Niagara Frontier Post 1040, American Legion; and the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club.

His interests included hunting, boating, skeet-shooting, gardening, travel and fishing -- he landed a 135-pound, 10-foot, 4-inch Pacific sailfish during a 1970 vacation in Acapulco, Mexico.

Survivors include his wife, the former Margaret Platek of the Town of Tonawanda; three sons, Gary J. of Orchard Park, Brian J. of Lancaster and Ted J. Jr. of Grand Island; five brothers, Chester of the Town of Tonawanda, Leonard of Danielson, Conn., John of East Aurora, Ronald of Port Chester and Fred of Churchville; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Edmund Catholic Church, 530 Ellicott Creek Road, Town of Tonawanda. Burial, with military honors, will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.


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