I attended Indiana University and later graduated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana, with a degree in funeral service. Sonya attended Ivy Tech College in Muncie and received her degree in nursing.
Q: Why did you choose to go to mortuary school?
A: I became interested in funeral service after the loss of my father at a young age. Although I had an interest in ministry and law when I was in my late teens; a very wise pastor at my church during those years urged me to consider the “ministry” of funeral service. I was working in a funeral home at that time, and it was a perfect fit for my interests and personality. I truly feel I am doing what the Lord intended me to do with my life.
Q: Is it correct that you and Sonya are the sole owners of Copher-Fesler-May?
A: Sonya and I purchased Copher & Fesler Funeral Home in late 1998 from Charles and Roberta Copher, and they remained on our staff for several years to ensure a smooth and successful transition and modernization of the funeral home. I had worked at a small funeral home in Elwood previously, as well as a large funeral home in Anderson for several years as a lead funeral director. Mr. Copher and I crossed paths on many occasions, and I simply inquired about the future of his business. The timing was perfect for them as they were in their late 60s at that time, and we were young enough to establish deep roots in our business. We have been blessed that our funeral home continues to flourish today after 95 years in continuous operation. I believe we are one of the oldest ‑- if not the oldest – continuously operated business in Elwood.
Q: What unique services do you offer?
A: The most unique aspect of the way we do business is our attention to detail and the level at which we provide care and service to families who have experienced a loss. This is becoming increasingly rare in our industry, and we feel it sets us apart from other businesses. Also, funeral service is our only business, which differentiates us from many funeral homes. We are personally available to every family we serve 24-hours a day, and we are at our business every day.
Q: What are some of your business’ most noteworthy achievements that you are most proud of?
A: We are extremely proud that our pre-arrangement volume has increased every year that we have owned the funeral home. More and more families are pre-planning their services with us, and we have a very successful monument business that we only advertise by word of mouth and referrals.
Q: When did you join the Elwood Chamber, and what do you see as the primary benefit of your membership?
A: Our funeral home has always been a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and we see the benefits of networking with other businesses in Elwood for the benefit of our entire community. The Chamber is more in touch with the businesses in our community than ever before, in my opinion. The staff at the Chamber is outstanding.
Q: What is your favorite Chamber event?
A: We really enjoy the Glass Festival. It’s a great event every year to see everyone in the community enjoying good food, entertainment, and fellowship. So many groups depend on fundraising from this weekend to support great causes within the community as well.
Q: What do you see as Elwood’s greatest untapped resource?
A: Elwood location is the most untapped resource. We are close to so many larger cities, and we are perfectly located in close proximity to great shopping, fine dining, and premiere music venues. Elwood can really position itself to become the next Noblesville in my opinion. The cost of living is so much lower here compared to neighboring cities, and people are beginning to notice our small town. I sincerely believe things will only get better in Elwood.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: Sonya and I have one daughter, Lauren Elizabeth May, who is 13 now and a student in the eighth grade class at Elwood Junior/Senior High School. My mother and Sonya’s parents still reside in Elwood, and we are blessed with a wonderful church family at East Main Street Christian Church.
Q: After 19 years of business ownership, do you think you made the right decision to invest your time and resources in Elwood?
A: Absolutely. We looked at other opportunities to own a funeral home in other communities. We couldn’t be happier to have invested all our resources in our hometown of Elwood. So many young people today think that things are always better “away” from Elwood, but isn’t it interesting how many return to settle down here? Elwood has its successes and challenges like every community, but in our mind, there’s no place like home. :)