In Memoriam: Shayne Coppedge

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“It was very sudden. You can never really prepare for these kinds of things,” said Cana Jenkins, the older sister of recent UCSC graduate Shayne Marie Coppedge. Coppedge died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism on July 3. Originally from Walnut Creek, Calif., Coppedge is survived by her parents and Cana Jenkins.

Shayne Coppedge was enthralled with everything about nature and always found any reason to be outside. Her admiration for the outdoors is remembered by Jenkins and the rest of the Coppedge family in an obituary that was printed by the Contra Costa Times.

“Shayne would always be the one to notice and appreciate the beauty in this world. ‘Come outside and look at the moon,’ she would say, or ‘check out this cool fungus growing on this log.’ She never missed a moment of beauty,” according to the obituary by the Coppedge family.

Her passion and love for nature inspired Coppedge to leave her job as a legal secretary to study at UC Santa Cruz. Having graduated just two weeks before her passing, Coppedge was a Porter student who majored in ecology and evolution. Jenkins, only fourteen months older than Coppedge, remembers her younger sister as a dedicated dreamer who had interesting goals and plans set out for her future.

Coppedge spent a lot of her time creating different types of art. Dabbling in painting, poetry and cooking, Coppedge found creative outlets in every part of her life.

“She was always her own person,” Jenkins said. “She was very original and creative. When she was a little girl, she started to tell us all the time that she wasn’t from this planet. She was from her own  planet called ‘The Thinking Planet.’ Even as a very small child, everything was about imagination.”

According to a newsletter sent out by Porter College, Coppedge worked in an ecology and evolution lab and hoped to commence a career as a field biologist or in conservation. Shayne Coppedge left this world unexpectedly and abruptly and her absence will be surely felt throughout the UCSC campus, where she worked and studied.

The Coppedge family remembers her as a loving, imaginative person who will be greatly missed. “We have gained and learned things from you in your short life that we will carry in our hearts and minds forever,” the Coppedge family said in their obituary.