Graduating from Harvard University at the moment the United States became forced to take part in the World War, James Ira Shepard, of Providence, instantly abandoned his intention to engage in the practice of law and became an officer student at the Plattsburg Training Camp. He has now for a decade practiced before the bar of this State, during which period he has achieved a high reputation, having membership in one of the leading legal firms in New England. In addition to his official activities he has taken a sincere interest in public affairs, but never seeking office, satisfied to assist where he could in the promotion of such enterprises as have engaged the attention of those who have at heart the best interests of the community.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, November I, 1892, he is a son of Harry H. and Agnes (Kent) Shepard. His father was for many years general manager of the plant of the National India Rubber Company at Bristol, Rhode Island, served as a member of the State Board of Charities and for several years as a State Senator. Both parents are deceased. James Ira Shepard acquired his education in the Moses Brown School and at Brown University, graduating from the last-named institution in 1914 with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. He then matriculated at the Law School of Harvard University and from it was graduated, in 1917, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In May, 1917, he registered at the Plattsburgh Training Camp and upon completion of the course was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army and assigned for duty to the 304th Infantry, 76th Division, then located at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. With this unit he went overseas as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces in 1918 and remained in Europe until the signing of the Armistice, November 11, 1918. In December, 1917, he had been promoted to first lieutenant, and after the close of hostilities he was transferred to the 163d Infantry of the 41st Division and with that contingent returned to the United States in February, 1919, when he was honorably mustered out. He then entered the law offices of Baker and Spicer, of Providence, where he studied until the following October, when he took the examination for admittance to the bar and passed it successfully, with license to practice in this State. On January 1, 1922, he severed his connection with Baker and Spicer and associated himself with Curtis, Matteson, Boss and Letts, a firm that was dissolved on July 1, 1927, when Mr. Shepard became a member of the firm of Boss, Shepard and McMahon. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He is a director of the Alice Building Company, Incorporated, and of the Downey-Nash Company, Incorporated. He belongs to the Zeta Psi college fraternity and is a member of the Brown Club of Providence and of the Rhode Island Country Club. His favorite pastimes are horseback riding and golf.
James Ira Shepard married, November 17, 1917, Hazel Ford, of Memphis, Tennessee, daughter of Hugh Ford, for many years associated with the Pioneer Pole and Shaft Manufacturing Company.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.