Flu suspected in woman's death

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010

Terry Shepherd, the director of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in Homer, died Wednesday, board vice president Mike Allen said in a statement released today.

Shepherd, 44, was admitted to South Peninsula Hospital on Sunday and diagnosed with H1N1 flu and complications of pneumonia. She was medevaced to Providence Hospital, Anchorage, on Monday, and died about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"The board and staff right now are devastated," Allen said. "We're in kind of a state of shock right now. It's just really a stunning event. We're trying to process it."

If tests show that Shepherd had H1N1, it would be the first laboratory confirmed death from H1N1 or seasonal flu since Nov. 29, 2009, said Greg Wilkinson, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services. Wilkinson said DHHS could not confirm at this time that anyone on the Kenai Peninsula had died of H1N1 or if laboratory tests for a possible H1N1 death had been done.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is an environmental education organization that runs programs through the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center on East Skyline Drive, its Lake Street headquarters and at its Peterson Bay field station.

Shepherd started at CACS in October 2009, moving to Homer from Moab, Utah, where she was executive director of Red Rock Forests, an advocacy group for forests and watersheds.

Shepherd graduated from the University of Tampa (Fla.). She received a master of arts in political science from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, and a master of science in environmental studies from the University of Montana, Missoula.

Shepherd is survived by her husband, Harold Shepherd, and two stepsons. Allen said a memorial service will probably be held in Homer at a time and place to be announced.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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