Although his father was a doctor, Richard Eppes Shands decided on a career in law. He received his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Virginia and later earned a master of law degree from George Washington University. Shands served as a Navy officer in World War I. His name, as well as his two brothers, appears on the plaque at the rear of Epiphany’s nave commemorating parishioners who fought in the Great War. Shands went on to become a successful Washington lawyer for nearly 60 years. During his career, he served as Chairman of the Fairfax County School Board, President of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and the National Capital Area Chapter of Boy Scouts of America.
Richard Shands and his family had strong connections to Epiphany. His father, Dr. Aurelius Shands, served as a vestry member and warden for over 20 years. Richard and his siblings memorialized their parents with the contribution of a stained glass window that graces the east transept of the church today. Richard married Katherine “Kate” Snyder at Epiphany in 1936. He served as a vestry member and parish treasurer. He provided legal assistance to the parish and the diocese over the years. Richard and Kate’s farm in Great Falls, Virginia (see photo) was the setting of many Epiphany parish picnics. That property was later sold to a new faith community that was just getting started in the 1960s, today’s St. Francis Episcopal Church.