(Deceased)

State: Arkansas

City: Pine Bluffs

Chapters: 759

Members: 41,737

Convention: Dallas, TX - June 17-20, 1942

Income: $58,300

Utilities Executive, 35 year old, William M. Shepard elected president for a full term.

Vice President: Henry K. Frost Glendale, CA
(State Organizational Affairs)
Vice President: Mearns T. Gates Pomeroy, WA
(War Services and Awards)
Vice President: Robert M. Harrison
Chicago, IL (Membership and Internal Affairs)
Vice President: Herbert B. Hayes Atlanta, GA
(International Relations)
Vice President: Ernest T. Hertz
Billings, MT (Leadership Training)
Vice President: Victor Jenkins
Philadelphia, PA (Postwar Planning)
Vice President: Robert L. Musser Columbus, MO
(Public Affairs)
Treasurer:* Ben McDonald Kansas City, KS

 

Executive Vice President:*

Douglas Timmerman

St. Joseph, MO National Office
Chicago

* Appointed position.

Chicago, IL to host 1943 convention.

“A dogged and relentless worker,” This phrase or similar ones are almost always used to describe William M. Shepherd, the USJCC president in 1942-43. In retrospect, the battler from Pine Bluff stands out as one of the really great Jaycee leaders, and the personification of the organization's determination to stay alive during the trying years of World War II.

Shepherd's Jaycee background included service as a state president and national vice president, although he was not a vice president immediately prior to his election as national president. Shepherd, from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, came from the smallest city of any president until that time.

To Shepherd, it seemed absolutely necessary that the Junior Chamber of Commerce be preserved during the war period, and it was he who continually emphasized that Jaycees on the home-front were the “trustees” of the organization while many of the members were away from their homes serving with the armed forces.

In fact, it was this message which Shepherd carried from one end of America to another during his administration, as he traveled 43 states or a total of 65,000 miles.

All of this travel was made in a time when buses, trains, and airplane s were packed with servicemen and government officials who had the priority on space. In Shepherd's term, there was no such a thing as merely telephoning the airport or train depot for a reservation. With no special travel priority, Shepherd had to literally battle for his accommodations and frequently did much of his cross -country journeying by bus. On occasion, he would even hitch a ride to his next destination.

Nevertheless, Shepherd managed to always carry his message -- the Jaycee message -- across America. The result was an upsurge in the organization's morale, and the effective promotion of his idea that the Jaycee movement must survive. There were even a few new clubs added during his term – although the overall total dropped -- and some Junior Chambers actually conducted membership drives during wartime!

Shepherd also brought great unity to the Jaycee movement and helped large and small chapter s to realize that their problems were actually similar, since civic service was the aim of groups of all sizes. In addition, the man from Pine Bluff pressed the extension of the Junior Chamber of Commerce into Central America, a step which was to eventually lead to the development of Junior Chamber International.

As an editorial in the June 1943, issue of FUTURE points out:

“Bill Shepherd, as national Jaycee president, has done a job that he probably doesn’t realize. Bill has positively, killed and, buried deep a sort of isolationism which has been threatening to retard the progress of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and, consequently, the progress of all.”

“What Bill seems to have put away for keeps is the tendency of similar towns and larger city Jaycee outfits to regard their problems as dissimilar and their attitudes not compatible?”

"Bill is the brilliant ‘country boy’ type; one of those shrewd, genial indefatigable guys the smaller cities develop by subjecting talent daily to the intimate appraisal of neighbors. His type is usually shanghaied into the big cities to wind up in the headline, ‘Small Town Boy Makes Good.’”

“Shepherd came along at the right time for the Junior Chamber of Commerce. It, of all organizations, should not countenance isolationism or insularity. Science, mechanical and social, has made all the world next door to us. Today, Little Rock and London aren't much further apart in time and thought than New York and Philadelphia used to be.”

The really important advances in the field of international began with the reciprocal agreement between Canada and the U.S., whereby the president of each nation's organization had a place on the other country's executive committee. An important joining project concerned sending a representative of each country to Central America to further expand the Jaycee movement, and Shepherd entered into negotiations with the State Department and, more particularly, Mr. Nelson A. Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

Although the State Department did not grant funds to finance such a trip, the project did have the support of the department and Mr. Rockefeller. Subsequently, in the spring of 1943, the Canadian president, J. Taylor and Vance Graham of Colorado Springs - representing the U.S. - embarked on an extensive tour of Central America. Shepherd himself went as far as Mexico City and directed the first stage' of the operation. He had wisely seen the need for Jaycee literature in Spanish and translations were made of “Today’s Minute Men,” “How to Organize a Junior Chamber,” “Leadership Training,” and the ‘Public Health Manual.” The complete story behind Taylor and Graham I s trip is found in the chapter on JCI. This trip through Central America by Graham and Taylor resulted in the formation of Junior Chambers in Mexico City, Guatemala City, Sal Salvador, Tegucigalpa (Honduras), San Jose, Balboa, and Managua. Along with a journey to Central America late in 1943 by NBC News Commentator Don Belt, and USJCC International Relations Chairman Ray Wolff, this journey was instrumental in making possible the Inter-American Congress in December of 1944, held in Mexico City. The Congress gave birth to Junior Chamber International.

On the domestic front, activities for the year were coordinated by board meetings held in Dallas following the convention, and, at a September conclave in Chicago. The fall session, surprisingly enough attended by directors from over 40 states, representing 90 percent of the board, adopted a 12-point program of activities for the 1942-43 administrative year.

Listed among goals for the year were: cultivation of activities toward the growth of civilian, commercial and military aviation; emphasis on Christmas programs; fire prevention program s; physical fitness programs, sponsorship of all types of safety programs; conservation programs; youth development programs and a postwar planning program.

It is interesting to note that even in the most crucial portion of the war that the Jaycees were not overlooking the fact that the war would eventually end, and peacetime adjustment would be a necessity.

Under the direction of Vice President Victor Jenkins of Philadelphia, this Postwar Planning Committee met in December in Washington, D.C., with the executives of many planning agencies. These representatives from federal agencies were asked to cooperate in publications of a “Bible” of postwar planning, to be issued by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the handbook was nearly complete by the end of Shepherd’s administration. It included articles on the readjustment of veterans to civilian life, and many other subjects.

The Junior Chamber also worked extensively on planning and development of a program for the re-employment of servicemen upon their return from battle. In this effort, the USJCC worked closely with civic organizations, farm organizations, and business management groups, in an attempt to set up a voluntary organization which had been suggested by General Hershey, head of Selective Service. If successful, it would have made unnecessary many veterans’ groups, however, and the project lasted only about a year. Nevertheless, Shepherd thanked Selective Service for the privilege of participating.

The national organization was cooperating with many other government agencies, including G- 2, Army Intelligence, and the Office of Price Administration. In several states, the OPA called upon the Junior Chamber to educate the people in regard to price ceiling programs.

While on his trips to Washington, D.C., Shepherd visited many of the nation’s top government leaders, including Vice President Henry A. Wallace, and J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI.

The reaction of these famous people to the story of the Jaycee wartime program was always one of admiration. Typical of remarks was one by Vice President Wallace, who said:

“It is a thrilling story you have told me. It is the most stimulating thing that has happened to me in many months.”

Really valuable publicity was secured when Shepherd appeared on a 180-station Mutual Broadcasting network hook-up as the guest of Fulton Lewis Jr. The noted radio columnist commended the Junior Chamber on its splendid contribution to the war effort.

Across America, the variety of Jaycee projects were so varied they almost defied listing. The greater number, however, were concerned with some phase of the war effort and scrap drives, bond drives, assisting USO centers, and other such program s among the most common.

Typical of bond selling - Jaycee style - was a promotion in Oklahoma City, where the Junior Chamber brought actress Bette Davis to town and capitalized on her appearance to sell $1,000,000 worth of war bonds in only four hours. Miss Davis actually auctioned off a calf for $100,000 and received a similar amount for a quart of Phillips 66 Motor Oil. In the latter case, the purchaser was Frank Phillips, the owner of the company!

In Cincinnati, Ohio, the Jaycees sponsored “Naval Aviation Nights,” at the request of the navy and there were branded as invaluable recruiting instruments. In Honolulu, Hawaii, Jaycees succeeded in putting over a huge scrap drive even though citizens were not allowed out after dark due to “blackout restrictions.”

Another type of popular program is represented by the Jaycee Military Training project in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Junior Chamber initiated a special pre-induction training course for civilians slated to enter military service. This course taught civilians the basic knowledge of military subjects to make it easier for them to adjust to service life.

In addition to their many projects, Jaycee locals had to struggle to maintain existence. Membership turnover was so rapid that one chapter had seven different presidents during the year. Some organizations conducted amazingly successful membership drives in Flint, Michigan; one such drive netted 74 new Jaycees!

State organizations were also fighting to continue operation, with many officers working unbelievably hard. Texas State President John Ben Shepperd of Gladewater actually traveled more miles during the war year of 1942-43 than any other President in Texas history. Towards the end of his term, he had already journeyed 23,000 miles, and was determined to finish his visitations by hitchhiking after he had used up all of his gasoline rationing tickets. Shepperd was to become national Junior Chamber President in 1947-48.

The war’s effect on Junior Chamber membership is hard to compute, for the turnover was so rapid that records vary. It seems likely, however, that there were about 41,737 paying Jaycees at the conclusion of Shepherd’s term, or a decrease of only 7,947. During the most crucial year of the war, there were far more actual members of the Junior Chamber - in the limited sense – since all men in service automatically remained in good standing, without needing to pay their dues, until the duration an overall total of about 100,000.

The number of active locals dropped from 958 to 759 during the administration. Chapter totals were never to drop below this point.

Service to locals was good in 1942-43, and special materials were prepared to assist chapters in the war effort. Among new publications were: “Smash Seventh Column,” “How Jaycees Can Help Keep 'Em Rolling,” “Victory Highway,” and “How Jaycees Can Get in the Scrap.”

“We Work for Victory,” a war activities calendar was also issued, and this listed year- round recommended projects. A booking service was also available for war films.

Preparing these materials were Executive Vice President Timmerman, Publications Secretary Hal Herman and Organizations Service Secretary Millard. The latter staffer left the organization in December of 1942, and was not replaced, This meant that Timmerman and Herman were to handle the duties through the remainder of the administration, and also under H. Bruce Palmer in 1943-44.

Headquarters had been switched from the Merchandise Mart Building to the 20th floor of the LaSalle Hotel in the summer of 1942. This space had been used at one time as the hotel laundry and was made available at reasonable cost through the friendship of Avery Brundage, hotel president. The LaSalle Hotel was far more convenient to visitors than the Merchandise Mart.

The major public relations venture of the year was the announcing of FUTURE magazine’s Ten Outstanding Young Men for 1941. The selections were released in the January 1942, issue.

Named the TOYM were:

  • Ellis G. Arnall, 35-year-old Governor of Georgia;
  • Paul Brown, Coach of the National Championship Ohio State Buckeyes;
  • Robert K. Burns, a regional director of the War Labor Board;
  • Harold R. Cox, medical researcher;
  • Theodore Gamble, Assistant to the Secretary of Treasury;
  • Henry J. Heinz, II, President of Heinz Foods;
  • George J. Newman, Vice President and General Manager of Consolidated Aircraft of Fort Worth;
  • Chesley Gordon Peterson, youngest Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Force at 22 years of age;
  • Paul C. Smith, former Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle who resigned from the Office of War Information to enlist as a private in the Marine Corps, and
  • William Shepherd, President of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce

Although an attempt was made to list war heroes in the TOYM selections, it was agreed by all that the real men of the year were the young fellows fighting on land, on and under the sea, and in the air, that freedom should not perish from the earth.

During January, the Distinguished Service Award winner for the year was also named, and Paul Smith received the honor. A nationwide Mutual Broadcasting Company program carried this announcement.

Throughout the year, a concentrated drive had been made to improve the quality of FUTURE magazine, and definite results were realized. Shepherd and Timmerman also worked to secure more advertising for the magazine so that the publishers would not continue to lose money. The result was an increase from an average of two-and-a-half pages of ads to four-and-a-half pages per issue.

FUTURE was not alone with its financial problems, for the organization itself suffered an $18,000 drop in income, with the budget for 1942-43 totaling approximately $40,100. Financial records of the USJCC had been kept in good shape by Treasurer Ben McDonald, even though he was in the navy.

It had been decided not to have a convention in Milwaukee as voted since travel restrictions were so severe that any large gathering would be impossible as well as unpatriotic. For that reason, a war conference was held in Chicago. It was agreed that the next real convention would be in Milwaukee, but this was not to come until 1946. A war conference was held in Omaha in 1944, but in 1945, there was no national meeting, and the president was elected by mail.

Four hundred Jaycees were on hand for the war conference, and business was transacted at a rapid-fire pace. Highlights of the meeting included conferring of awards to the USJCC by the government for outstanding programs in the sale of war bonds and the collection of scrap.

Featured speakers at the meeting were Lewis B. Hershey, head of Selective Service, and Paul Hoffman, Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and President of the Studebaker Corporation.

A “Star Spangled Rally” was also held in honor of H. Grady Vien, Junior Chamber president in 1927-28, who died on March 5, as well as many Jaycees who had been killed in military service.

Resolutions approved included a statement endorsing the Fifth Freedom or the opportunity of free enterprise and the right to enjoy the fruits of work. In regard to post-war planning, creation of a world organization was favored. It was stated that Jaycees deserved a strong voice in postwar decision making.

The Junior Chamber went on record as commending the WACS, WAVES, and other women’s auxiliary groups of the armed forces. This resolution was passed after much discussion, since opponents thought that approving military duty for women might be construed as a hope that service by women would keep many men from being drafted!

In addition, continued all-out backing of the war effort was voted, and Jaycee locals commended for their fine work.

Chosen as president for the coming term was H. Bruce Palmer of Flint, Michigan.

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