Dr. Frank Michael (Mike) Shepard of Vineyard Haven on died August 2 after a lingering illness. He was 86.

He dedicated his life to serving others as a doctor, teacher, mentor, husband, parent and friend.

He was born in Tampa, Fla. in 1935, to Harry Wargo and Annie Jewell Fogarty Shepard. He was proud to be a fifth generation Floridian. He graduated from Plant High School in Tampa, Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

While at Vanderbilt he met Sarah Goodale of Vineyard Haven, who had graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. They married in 1958 while Mike was finishing medical school.

He completed his internship at Vanderbilt University and then residencies at the University of California, San Francisco — where their son Martin was born — and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He returned to Vanderbilt and was appointed chief resident. He then obtained board certification in pediatrics and neonatology, the latter overseen by early neonatologist, Dr. Mildred Stahlman. While at Vanderbilt, the Shepard’s son David and daughter Elizabeth were born.

Mike and Sarah packed up the family and moved to Charlottesville, Va. where he taught pediatrics and neonatology at the University of Virginia, establishing their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). While there, he assisted Beulah Wiley, an African- American woman who sought to bring the first medical services to African Americans in poverty-stricken Buckingham county. As he made follow-up visits to check on premature babies, Mike seemed to be the only one at the university who had been to Buckingham. Ms. Wiley, assisted by the university, eventually received a significant grant and Mike was chosen to serve temporarily as their first physician. While in Charlottesville, Mike and Sarah’s son Steven was born.

The family moved to Omaha, Neb., where he became the chairman of the pediatric department at Creighton University. While there, Mike established a NICU at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

He was given an opportunity to help establish a new medical school to serve the Appalachian community. The Shepard family moved to Johnson City, Tenn., where Mike served as the chairman of the pediatrics department at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. He established his third NICU and ran the university’s pediatric clinic. During his career, he mentored neonatologists Dr. Marian Myers and Dr. Luis Arango.

Even with all of the moves, he made sure Sarah and the children were able to spend their summers in Vineyard Haven and he visited as often as he could.

Mike and Sarah later moved to Jonesborough, Tenn. until retiring to Martha’s Vineyard in 2000. He continued to serve those in need, becoming an active member of Grace Church, volunteering at their lobster roll fundraisers. He also volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Thrift Shop and the Red Cross.

He is survived by Sarah, his wife of 63 years, and their children: Frank Martin Shepard, his wife Leigh Anne and their children Asa Martin and Eliza Anne; David Michael Shepard, his wife Margaret (Peggy) and their children Benjamin Robert, his wife Emily, and Marie Elizabeth; Elizabeth Tillson Shepard; and Steven Goodale Shepard, his wife Brenda and their daughter Katrin Anna Jewell.

He was predeceased by his sister Nancy Ann Shepard Osborne.

A celebration of life will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m.

Memorial donations can be made to Grace Episcopal Church (graceepiscopalmv.org) or the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod (VNACapeCod.com).