Longtime Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland Dies At 58
Copeland was elected Olathe mayor in 2001, making him the longest serving mayor in the city's history.
Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland died Wednesday evening at the age of 58, the city announced Thursday morning.
Copeland joined the city council in 1993 and was elected mayor in 2001, making him the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, according to a news release announcing his death.
According to the release, Copeland moved to Olathe from California to play football at MidAmerica Nazarene University.
During his tenure as mayor, the city’s population grew by 50,000 and became more diverse, welcoming a significant population of Latino immigrants.
Copeland told KCUR in 2016 that the city was intentional about preparing for a growing — and changing — population.
"I think that we struggled to stay ahead of it, but I think we were successful in doing so," Copeland said
Copeland served on the Bi-State Commission, the KVC Board of Directors, the Union Station Board of Directors, and the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board, according to the new release.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly shared her condolences on Twitter.
This morning I was saddened to hear of the passing of Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland. Mayor Copeland served his community with honor and integrity for nearly 20 years. I offer my condolences to the Mayor's family, friends, and the Olathe community during this difficult time.— Governor Laura Kelly (@GovLauraKelly) August 20, 2020
The city announced that Olathe Mayor Pro Tem John Bacon has assumed the role of Acting Mayor.
“I can’t begin to say how much Mike will be missed. I lost a great friend of 40 years, and the community lost a true advocate and cheerleader who loved Olathe. Olathe loved Mike as well. We will do our best to carry on his legacy,” Bacon said.
Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement he was “heartbroken” to hear of Copeland’s death. He called Copeland “a kind, intelligent, generous, and affable man.”
“Whether at a ballgame or a business meeting, Michael was genuine, smiling, and willing to give welcome advice to a rookie mayor like me. I will miss him and this region will miss his unifying voice in these tumultuous times,” Lucas said.
Copeland is survived by his wife Maria, and children Olivia, Abigail and Joshua.
The cause of death was not immediately known.