Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Sheila Pickel

August 18, 1967 - October 10, 2021
Rockford, MI



Friday, October 15, 2021
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

A brief service will conclude the visitation

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Susan Mast ALS Foundation
2500 Waldorf Ct NW b
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Web Site

Humane Society of West Michigan
3077 Wilson Dr NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life and beautiful soul of Sheila Pickel, words such as easy-going, down to earth, and generous come to mind. The most fitting word, however, is the word resilient which paints the most vivid picture of her life. Gone too soon, Sheila was deeply loved and will be dearly missed by her special friends and loved ones.

It seems only fitting that her story began during a time that was as optimistic as she was. It was the 1960’s when many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden era. By 1967, there was a continued presence of American troops serving in Vietnam and peace rallies were multiplying in towns across the nation. Highlights of the time were the famous Detroit riots, the release of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and The Monkees on television. During a promising time in history, Billie Stanfield welcomed home her one and only daughter, Sheila Marie, on August 18, 1967, in Gladwin, Michigan. Her arrival brought her mother much joy and happiness.

Living in Gladwin throughout her growing years, offered her many opportunities,, yet Sheila was always prepared to spread her wings and venture away from the small town atmosphere. She attended local schools and enjoyed playing on the high school volleyball team until she injured her knee. Ambitious and never one to remain idle, Sheila worked at the local McDonald’s where she met Andy Buck. Young and in love, they married and started their lives together in Ypsilanti. Together they raised their daughter, Kayla. They soon moved to the Grand Rapids area for a short time before heading south to Texas where they remained for four years. With the strong need for teachers, Sheila found herself teaching at a local preschool before landing a position as a Kindergarten teacher. Andy’s work would uproot them another time to Ann Arbor and then finally back to Grand Rapids. Active and always on the go, Sheila taught jazzercise classes and worked in a call center for JC Penney before beginning a new career in banking as a teller. Shortly after getting settled, she and Andy ended their marriage. Sheila’s career in banking really took off and she worked her way up to Branch Manager eventually overseeing two locations in town. Literally anything she set her mind to doing, she always gave it her all!

Later in 2007, she met the man of her dreams, Brian Pickel, through their mutual friends, the Bodemann’s. The two of them instantly connected and began dating. After a few years of strengthening their bond, Brian planned a romantic proposal on the landing of the Split Rock Lighthouse in Silver Bay, Wisconsin. He truly brought out the best in her and the happy couple joined in marriage on July 17, 2016. They moved in next door to his mother as he tenderly cared for her. Together they enjoyed camping and going for drives as well as spending time on their boat, Panacea. Any amount of time they were out on the water fishing, they were content. If they indeed caught any fish, that was a bonus! To them, together time was all they needed. They also loved to travel and toured Key West annually. They always celebrated her birthday in August at a campground making new memories and exploring together. Each time they traveled or visited a new town, they always shopped for local art and bought a new cookbook. Sheila loved to cook and especially loved trying new recipes. She and Brian lived a beautiful life together where both of them were supported and loved and able to be themselves.

Some of Sheila’s favorite pastimes included the simple pleasures of life. In addition to fishing and nature loving, she was also an animal lover and cherished the companionship she had with her two dogs, Daisy and Cleo, as well as her grand puppies, Bella and Scarlett. She loved going to Marshall’s early on Saturdays with Kayla and shopping for a wide variety of items. She and Kayla were exceptionally close and Sheila was so proud of her accomplishments. As a mother, she was happy to share in Kayla’s success in nursing school as well as her ability to independently purchase her own home. When it came time to relax, Sheila loved watching old movies starring Audrey Hepburn. As much as she loved being healthy and active, she also loved her down time.

Sadly, Sheila was formally diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease on October 3, 2019. Brian and Sheila committed to building a new accessible house for her in Rockford. The home had beautiful views where she could take in the visiting deer, turtles, bunnies, and birds. Completed in March of 2021, they savored the warm sunlight that streamed through the open windows and loved the peace of their new surroundings. Sheila lived every last moment to the fullest. She never took a single day for granted and showed great strength right up until the end of her time on Earth. There is no doubt that Sheila will be greatly missed by her sweet family and her many special friends. May her memories live on eternally in their hearts and may they be comforted in knowing that she loved them beyond measure.

It is with great sorrow and peace that we announce the passing of Sheila Marie Pickel age 54, of Rockford, on October 10, 2021. To know her, was to love, admire and be inspired by her. She will be forever missed. She was preceded in death by her mother, Billie Stanfield; grandparents, William (Treva) Crick; and in-laws, Darwin (Mary Alice) Pickel. Sheila is survived by her husband, Brian; daughter, Kayla Buck; brothers and sisters-in-law, Bob (Carol) Pickel, Bruce (Sue) Pickel, David Pickel, Nancy (Jeff) Shusta, Pam (Tom) Bradfield and Doug Pickel; many nieces and nephews; and special friends, Kelley Leach and Julia (Brian) Bodemann and their daughters, Katie and Anna. A Memorial Gathering will take place from noon until the time of service at 2 PM on Friday October 15, 2021 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Contributions in her memory may be made to Susan Mast ALS Foundation or to Humane Society of West Michigan. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook online.