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Mark Shepherd Jr. dies at 86; former chairman of Texas Instruments

February 13, 2009|Associated Press

Mark Shepherd Jr., a former Texas Instruments Inc. chairman who helped convert the company into an electronics giant during his 40-year career, died Feb. 4 of complications from pulmonary fibrosis at his ranch in Quitman, Texas. He was 86.

Shepherd played a leading role in the creation of the semiconductor industry and "was a driving force in establishing [Texas Instruments] as one of the first global electronics companies," Rich Templeton, the company's chairman, president and chief executive, told the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Instruments innovations under Shepherd included transistor radios, hand-held calculators and semiconductors now used around the world.

Shepherd served as chairman from 1976 to 1988, when he retired. He was a general director until 1993.

He was born in Dallas on Jan. 18, 1923, and reared in east Texas. He graduated from high school when he was 14 and earned a bachelor's degree in engineering with honors at Southern Methodist University.

Shepherd served in the Navy as a lieutenant specializing in radar and electronics maintenance aboard the light cruiser Tucson during World War II.

In 1947, he earned a master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois.

While attending his father's funeral, Shepherd noticed a new building in Dallas for Geophysical Service Inc., an oil-field services company that was about to become Texas Instruments. He went to work for Texas Instruments in 1948 as a project engineer. He rose through the ranks to become chief engineer, assistant vice president and general manager of the semiconductor components division.

Shepherd is survived by his wife, Mary Alice; two daughters, Debra Shepherd Robinson of Dallas and Marykay Shepherd of Quitman, Texas; a son, Marc B. Shepherd of Plano, Texas; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


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