Between them, three members of the House Education Committee have enough grandchildren to fill a small Idaho school district.
Or populate a small town.
Together, Reps. Paul Shepherd, Gary Marshall and Jerald Raymond have 103 grandchildren.
And no, that’s not a typo.
News of the bevy of grandchildren broke during the first House Education meeting of the year, when legislators took turns introducing themselves, talking about their families and explaining why education matters to them.
Shepherd, R-Riggins, is a business owner and a former Garden Valley School Board member. He is also the undisputed busiest grandfather on the committee, with 42 grandchildren. Add to that nine children of his own (three of whom are teachers) and more than a dozen great grandchildren and you get an idea of how busy the holiday season must be at the Shepherd households.
“The reason probably for education being one of my priorities is I have 42 grandkids,” Shepherd said. “So I have quite an investment in education just representing my family alone, not counting my constituents.”
The second busiest grandfather on the committee is Marshall, R-Idaho Falls, a freshman legislator who boasts 38 grandchildren.
Marshall’s background is in education, and he requested to serve on the education committee. Marshall’s career included 12 years in the public school system as a teacher and administrator at the junior high and high school levels. He also spent 27 years on the faculty of Ricks College, which is now known as Brigham Young University-Idaho. At BYU-Idaho, he served as the institution’s second dean of the college of education. Throughout the bulk of his career, Marshall taught in the history department. He estimated teaching 26,000 students throughout his career at Ricks/BYU-Idaho.
The third busiest grandfather is Raymond, R-Menan, with 23 grandkids. A freshman legislator as well, Raymond is a rancher and livestock consultant who represents Butte, Clark, Fremont and Jefferson counties in East Idaho. Two of Raymond’s daughters are educators, and he said one of the reasons he asked to serve on the education committee was because of his children and grandchildren.
“If we combine all our grandchildren here, we could have a high school in this committee alone,” Raymond said.
Honorable mention goes to freshman Rep. Tony Wisniewski, R-Post Falls, who has five children and 16 grandchildren. If you add Wisniewski’s 16 grandchildren in with Shepherd’s, Marshall’s and Raymond, it brings the total to 119 grandchildren between the four of them.
But even Wisniewski acknowledged his 16 grandkids are “no match to some of the others here. My hat’s off to you gentleman.”
Did you know?
- Between Shepherd, Marshall, Raymond and their 103 grandchildren, they could fill an entire Idaho Legislature and have one extra person. The Legislature comprises 70 members of the House and 35 members of the Senate.
- A hypothetical Idaho school district comprising only Shepherd, Marshall and Raymond’s grandchildren would be larger than 10 Idaho school districts, based on 2017-18 mid-term enrollment total.
- That hypothetical school district of grandchildren would fall between Leadore’s South Lemhi School District and the Mullan School District, based on enrollment.
Check back with Idaho Education News this month for occasional features on House Education Committee members.