Cover photo for Michelle Ward Copeland's Obituary
Michelle Ward Copeland Profile Photo
1969 Michelle Lynn Ward Copeland 2024

Michelle Ward Copeland

May 2, 1969 — March 28, 2024


Michelle Lynn Ward Copeland, fondly known as Shelly, was born on May 2, 1969 at 4:23 PM in Greencastle, Indiana. Shelly passed away on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the age of 54. She was a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, and leaves behind a legacy of laughter and love.

Michelle is survived by her beloved husband, Lee Copeland, her loving mother, Lisa Ward, her adoring brother, Clint Ward, and her cherished children: Adrianna Adams, 29; Alyssa Adams, 28; Robert Adams, Jr., 26; and the twins, Madison and Nate Copeland, 20, all of Indiana. Michelle was also blessed with two precious grandchildren: Chloe Michelle and Greyson Lee. Additionally, she leaves behind her beloved nieces and nephews: Paden Ward of North Carolina, and Corrine, Stefan, and Henry Ward of Tennessee; many close loving cousins; and her very best friends, practically sisters, Angie Culley and Brandy Whitehead. 

Michelle's childhood and teenage years were filled with laughter and mischief, surrounded by cousins who became sisters and lifelong friends. She has left an indelible mark on their lives, and they will carry her indomitable spirit with them forever. She was also lucky enough to grow up alongside her Aunt Debbie Pickel and Uncle John (dog-lips) Pickel. Their roles in her life progressed from childhood playmates to confidantes and most ardent champions.

From an early age, Michelle had a passion for life that was contagious. Fearless and unstoppable, she embraced every opportunity to entertain, even if it was for a somewhat unwilling audience of cousins, aunts, and uncles! Throughout her life, she was a cheerleader, model, singer, popular disc jockey, and the most engaging postal worker you could have the pleasure of encountering. She tackled each phase of her life with energy, gusto, and creativity.

Michelle once donned a pizza delivery uniform, complete with pizza, and waltzed backstage to deliver it to Guns-N-Roses. She not only talked her way past security, but convinced the band to call her little brother. She had a knack for dreaming up grand, spontaneous schemes, and she relished every moment of bringing them to life. Michelle's spirit was unstoppable, and she lived to the fullest, dragging the rest of us along for the ride, whether we were ready or not.

Michelle graduated from Power's Modeling School in 1983, Cascade High School in 1986, and Columbia School of Broadcasting in 1989. Her professional journey took her through various roles, from radio disc jockey to postal worker, but her true passion was always music. Known as Michelle Rivers at WENS Lite Rock 97.1 in Indianapolis and Michelle Steele at the ARCH in St. Louis, she touched countless lives with her infectious energy and love for music. During her radio career spanning 1989-2010, she met and interviewed many celebrities. She shared some of the more colorful stories but swore us to secrecy.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Michelle's greatest joy was her family. Her love and devotion to her children and grandchildren is her most enduring legacy. Michelle was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Gayle and Helen Pickel, paternal grandparents, Sam and June Davis, and several beloved aunts and uncles.

Visitation will be held on Saturday April 6, at noon, followed by a service and celebration of life at 1:00 PM. New Hope Baptist Church, 109 N. Lebanon Street, Jamestown, IN 46147. Flowers can be sent to the church, and contributions to assist the family with funeral expenses can be made to Sanders Funeral Care, 315 South Washington Street, Crawfordsville, Indiana or donated online at Share memories and condolences online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michelle Ward Copeland, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, April 6, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, April 6, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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