WHEN GREGORY Garcia met Kim Annette Shepherd she had to teach him that it was OK to take a vacation.
Greg, a longtime postal worker, apparently enjoyed his work because he didn't like to take a break from it. Kim assured him that the sky would not fall on him if he left the job for short stretches.
Kim also taught Greg how to work in her beauty salon, not exactly second nature to a manly man. In return, Greg taught Kim how to drive, and she got her driver's license.
When Kim was stricken with multiple sclerosis and years of slow decline followed, Greg was there every day to care for her. He had a simple explanation for why he did it: "I loved her."
Obviously, their relationship was the epitome of quid pro quo.
Kim Annette Shepherd-Garcia, whose beauty salon, Studio 13, at 13th Street and Erie Avenue, was a neighborhood asset, died Dec. 2. She was 57 and lived in Willingboro, N.J.
Through her long illness, Kim never complained and never lost her enthusiasm for life.
"Kim was full of joy and laughter in spite of her circumstances," her family said. "She was always fun to be around."
Kim was born in Philadelphia to Eugene and Essie Shepherd. She graduated from Olney High School and went on to the Empire Beauty School in Philadelphia to obtain her beautician's license.
She worked at a number of area beauty salons, including Arthur Wright, Regal's and Ebony and Ivory at Adams Plaza in the Northeast. She also did hair for the old Sears store on Roosevelt Boulevard.
In 1985, she attended Berean Institute to complete a teacher's certificate so she could teach beauty techniques. She also studied at Dudley Cosmetology University for Hair in Greensboro, N.C., where she was president of her class.
Always eager to learn all she could about her chosen field, Kim went to Atlanta to attend the famed Bonner Brothers Hair Show, where she picked up many tips from the demonstrations that are featured at the show.
She was always alert to new methods of cutting, roller placement and hair weaving, and kept up with the latest products and innovations in style.
Kim opened Studio 13 in 1990. "She was extremely creative in her approach to her business," her family said. "Her business was a beautiful environment. It enhanced the neighborhood. Studio 13 was a vital community entity."
Kim married Gregory Garcia on Oct. 19, 1991, and he became a partner in her salon. He learned to do shampooing, but mostly handled the details of the business, including ordering the tools of the trade.
Kim got her early education in religion by attending evangelistic sessions at The Met with her grandmother, Evangelist Annie Howard.
She joined Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue, in 1985. After their marriage, Greg also joined the church.
"Kim enjoyed family games, always wanting to win," her family said. "She had many friends. She loved them and they loved her. She was encircled by a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. She was a beloved aunt. The children would wait on Aunt Kimmie's and Uncle Greg's gifts."
Kim also enjoyed dining out and shopping. "Greg became her shopping partner," her family said.
Kim was diagnosed with MS in 1992. By 2013, she had become wheelchair-bound and began suffering memory loss. After moving to New Jersey, she and Greg became members of Faith Deliverance Worship Center in Burlington, N.J.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her mother, Essie Shepherd; stepsons Gregory Garcia Jr., Jarvis and Caleb Garcia; a sister, Yvette Gardner; a brother, Joseph Shepherd; and five grandchildren.