SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is mourning the loss of a beloved member of its staff, Ashley Sheppard.

Sheppard passed away on Oct. 29, 2023, at the age of 35 from gastric cancer, according to the Town of Geddes, where Sheppard’s husband works as a police officer.

Sheppard was a collections manager at the Zoo, most notably caring for the elephant exhibit.

Sheppard was interviewed in November of 2022 by NewsChannel 9 as part of the reporting about the Zoo’s miraculous birth of twin elephants.

In a Facebook post, the Zoo writes: “It is with incredible sadness and heavy hearts we share the passing of Ashley Sheppard, a cherished member of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo family and our dear friend and colleague. We will miss Ashley more than words can express. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.”

Sheppard is survived by her husband, Michael Sheppard, an officer of the Geddes Police Department. The two have a son, Jackson.

In a Facebook post, the town indicates the Geddes Police Benevolent Association has set up a donation fund to assist Michael and Jackson.