In my life, I have been blessed to have been given counsel and friendship from my neighbors. One of the quietest, most considerate, wise, and gentle service leaders was Turhan Shepherd. His quiet leadership and sound wisdom affirmed him as a community leader and beloved friend to many.

I met Turhan on October 20, 2018. I and others of a neighborhood planning group had put together a presentation to ask our community if they wanted a neighborhood council. Turhan was at that meeting. The brother stood out because he moved quietly in a room bustling with others moving quickly and speaking loudly. At one point he and I spoke about the intention of creating our neighborhood council, the vision, and the purpose we envisioned for ourselves and our neighbors. After the community vote was taken, affirming our purpose to go forward, Turhan and I spoke again. He told me that after listening to us, seeing our commitment to doing the work required of repairing this community, of being inclusive and willing to work for our Greater Mattapan, he wanted to stay here. He and his lovely wife Adrienne had thought to leave Boston. But that day, listening to us, he decided to give us another chance.

On that day, I recognized Turhan as a leader. His professional experience was vast – the music industry, real estate, investing in many businesses – he understood the required commitment to good planning, working daily to achieve short and long-term goals, and listening to others. Most recently, he helped to solidify the written community benefit standards that help guide how Greater Mattapan sees well-designed sustainable development.

Finally, Turhan understood the value of cherishing the different dimensions of effective leadership with reference to our shared values and virtues; to reflect on how our personal values, visions, goals, and interpersonal relationships impact our spiritual life and sense of greater human purpose. This is the essence of why Mattapan is a good place to be … and Greater Mattapan just keeps getting better. Rest in peace our dearest friend.