She leaves her husband of 33 years, Thomas Szyman, two children – son Richard Szyman (Laura) and daughter Kim Szyman (friend Adam), her parents Richard and Barbara Paulsen, 3 sisters: Pat VanHoecke (Morey), Pam Paulsen, Carrie Hiniker (Mark), brother Steve Paulsen, brothers-in-law: Robert J. Szyman (Marie Towey), Charles R., James D., Lawrence M. (Carol Erickson), Mark H. (Valerie Black), Peter A., (Catherine Williams), sister-in-law: Marijo T. Bjorlin (Dean) Nieces: Chrissy DeBates (Jeff), Emma Paulsen, Chelsey and Brooklyn Hiniker, Elizabeth A., Rachel A., Malia P., Megan C., Jessica B. Kasper (Isaac), Anna E Graves (Peter), Christina M. Hershberger (Jason) and Jessica Huston; Nephews: Bill VanHoecke (Emily), Aiden Hiniker, Robert M. Szyman (Tamala Hoftiezer), Stephan S., SSG. Daniel P. (Emily Weidhaas), Douglas S., Zachary A., Nathanael E., Joshua L., SGT Mark T., SPC Nicholas G. (Rachel Limas), SPC Travis A. (Amanda Garza), Patrick T., Liam J., Mikel Herb (Brian); David D., and Stephen D. Bjorlin and great nieces and nephews: Will and Matt DeBates, Carson VanHoecke, Bella, Cecelia, and Trinity Szyman and Malachy and Anthony Herb.
Vanessa was born on January 7, 1957 in her hometown of Pipestone, MN. She graduated from Pipestone High School in 1975 and furthered her education at U of M in Waseca for animal vet science. Upon completing her degree she moved to Sioux Falls, SD, where she worked with Dr. Christensen. Van was united in marriage on December 28, 1979 to Thomas Szyman. Together they resided in Pipestone, MN where she was employed at the ASCS office. They later moved to Slayton, MN where they began raising their family. They briefly resided in Cloquet, MN before reaching their permanent home in Lakeville, MN in 1983. In 1985, Vanessa established a daycare in her home up until July 2011.
Vanessa will always be remembered for her strength, beauty, contagious laugh, her constant rocking in her rocking chair, snacking on Cheerios, home shopping (especially QVC) and her love for children and her pets. She was the family leader on keeping traditions and loved Christmas. Her many interests included: decorating her beautiful home and garden, reading, music, watching movies, traveling, decorative birds, sewing, baking, puzzles, cake decorating, planning parties, and playing games with family.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents – Kathryn and Bernard Hjermstad; Bill and Emma Paulsen, her in-laws – Bob and Pat Szyman, nephews Patrick K. Szyman and Sam Huston and 3 uncles – Robert Paulsen, Donald Hjermstad and Timothy Hjermstad.
Visitation was held 5-8pm Monday, June 18, 2012 at All Saints Catholic Church, Lakeville, MN. Mass of Christian Burial in Pipestone, MN was Friday, June 22, 2012.