SANFORD, Fla. — Shep Spinney, 72, of Sanford Florida died on June 11, 2014 after a long period of failing health. Shep and his wife Bunny moved to Florida in November of 2012 to be closer to their sons. Shep was a long time resident of Laconia, coming here in 1966 to perform at the Playhouse Inn. Shep also performed regularly at the Hidden Cove (where he and Bunny met ) as well as Christmas Island Steakhouse, Karl's Steakhouse, B Mae Denny's, and many other N.H. venues.
Shep started playing guitar at the age of seven and began playing on stage at the age of 10 with his father's band. Shep lived in Nashville for a while with his father, it was there that he picked up many of the guitar skills he was known for. While still in high school Shep's band The Javalans was signed to Event Records and had a huge hit with the song "Cynthia", the year was 1959. Shep performed on as well as co-wrote this early hit. After high school Shep joined the U.S. Navy and served from 1961 to 1965 in the NSGA. While stationed in Germany he performed with several bands and was staff guitarist for Teldec Records. After Germany Shep was stationed in Edzel, Scotland where he again performed with several artists as well as conducted guitar clinics.
In 1979 Shep made history opening the show as well as backing up major Nashville artists such as Ronnie Milsap, Grandpa Jones, Skeeter Davis and Charlie Walker on the Grand Ole Opry the first time it was ever broadcast outside of Nashville – at the Boston Gardens.
Over the next 30 years Shep performed with his band and as a single throughout the Northeast and Canada, and even as far away as Houston, Texas. For the past few years Shep entertained at various nursing homes and assisted living facilities ranging from Woodstock, Vt. to Billerica, Mass. In addition to performing Shep was also a country line dance instructor and choreographer for the past 25 years. Some of Shep's dances were performed as far away as England where a dance club "adopted" him.
Shep was a patriot and a great supporter of our military participating in many troop rallies in Laconia. He was also a member of the VFW post 1670 and the American Legion Post 1 in Laconia.
Shep is survived by his wife of almost 46 years, Charlotte (Bunny) Spinney, His two sons Jason and wife Cindi Spinney of Orlando, Fla. and Tony and Christine Spinney of Gulfport, Fla. In addition there are 3 grandchildren – Carlin and Evan of Palmyra, PA and Makenzie of Trenton, FL. He also leaves his brother Rodney of Norwich, Conn. as well as his team of loyal line dance girls of 20 years.
Shep is being cremated at Gramkow Funeral Home, 500 East Airport Blvd, Sanford, FL. They are receiving online condolences for the family at www.gramkowfuneralhome.com. The family intends to bring his ashes back to N.H. in the fall, details for the ceremony will be shared when they are confirmed.