Palm Southwest Mortuary

7979 W.Warm Springs Rd., Las Vegas, NV


Vanessa Marie Nalepa

February 28, 1983February 16, 2019
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Nalepa, Vanessa Marie, age 35, of Las Vegas, passed away Saturday, February 16, 2019 in Las Vegas. Born February 28, 1983 in Hayward, California, she graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She became an elementary school teacher for the Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada where she taught for 12 years and was recognized with the Distinguished Star award twice. Most recently she taught 1st grade at the K-12 Virtual Academy in Las Vegas. She enjoyed soccer, volleyball and running. She ran track in high school, and completed the Rock-N-Roll Marathon, the Summerlin Half Marathon, the Desert Dash Half Marathon and a Biathlon. She enjoyed playing board games, especially Boggle. She also enjoyed traveling. Her new passion was her seven month old son, Davis. Vanessa was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Norberto and Esperanza Aragon. Survivors include her husband: Frank, son: Davis, her parents: Jaime and Brenda Aragon, sisters: Tania and Presley, brother: Jaime, her maternal grandmother: Josephine Jones and Gizmo, the family dog. Funeral service will be held at 7pm Friday, February 22, 2019 at Palm Southwest Mortuary, 7979 W. Warm Springs Rd., Las Vegas, where family will receive friends from 4-7pm.


  • Visitation Friday, February 22, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, February 22, 2019


Vanessa Marie Nalepa

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Jennifer Nichols

March 9, 2019

I met Nalepa at Forbuss Elementary and worked several year with her there. Her room was across the hall from mine and I instantly made a connection with her. She would shower her pod mates with little gifts on every holiday. She was such a caring person. She soon moved to Kindergarten and that’s when I really saw how amazing she truly was. I would often joke with Nalepa that I wanted to be her when I grew up. She was what every educator should strive to be and so much more. She made you want to be better not only at your profession but at life. She was a teacher that you wanted your own children to have. I once or maybe twice told her that no matter where I was I wanted my daughter to have her for Kindergarten.
I was over joyed to here that she was finally going to be a mom. I knew she would be the best mommy ever. I reached out to her several times to express my elation. I am completely heartbroken that such a wonderful person was taken so quickly from our lives. I will continue to pray for baby Davis and Frank. Vanessa Nalepa you will be forever missed. #bemorelikenalepa

Kasie Jenkins

February 22, 2019

Vanessa was my very first college roommate. We shared a very small dorm together at Sac State. Everyone fears who your college roommate will be and what they will be like to live with. I hit the dorm roommate jackpot getting to live with Vanessa. We had an instant connection and a lifetime of memories and fun together during our college years. She was the sweetest most loving person I knew. Her smile and compassion for others inspired everyone around her. She was determined to become a elementary school teacher and loved children with her whole heart. I will forever cherish all the fun times we spent together. I know she’s an angel looking down on her family, husband and sweet baby boy Davis. She will be forever missed and loved by us all.

Mari Gray

February 22, 2019

I worked with Vanessa at Stuckey Elementary. I remember her for her huge smile, ready laugh, brilliant positive energy and love for everyone. She left a huge impression on me and was beloved by all who knew her. What a bright light❤️
It was an honor to know and work with this lovely lady❤️

John & Marci DeMarinis

February 22, 2019

Such a fun Christmas Eve memory to look back on... hope this picture brings a smile to your faces ❤️ our deepest sympathy to all of you!! You’re in our thoughts & prayers...

Sharon Lavigne

February 22, 2019

My daughter had the pleasure of having Mrs. Nalepa as her kindergarten teacher. She was the most amazing teacher and because of her my daughter LOVES school. We have so many amazing memories of her and her beautiful smile. She was always happy, always smiling and personally greeted each kid every morning. She was an amazing teacer and an amazing person. I have many great pictures of her with my daughter but I wanted to include one that showed her amazing personality. She will be remembered fondly forever and forever missed.

Jonathan Kruper

February 22, 2019

I had the pleasure of meeting Vanessa through teaching at Ries Elementary. Vanessa was someone who’s positive energy was infectious. You just felt better being around her. She could instantly change the feeling of a room with how happy and fun she was. One of my favorite memories is our “road trip” from Chicago to Pittsburgh. Out of randomness, we happened to be on the same flight leaving Vegas going to Pittsburgh. We were going for weddings (different weddings). It was funny enough seeing her and Frank at the airport but was not expecting what happened next. The layover was in Chicago and low and behold once we landed, the whole airport was practically shutdown. It was something with a fire. All flights were cancelled. I had messaged her and was like what are you guys doing? She was like we are renting a car, want a ride? This is exactly how she, without hesitation, was like come on, we’ll all go together! So, I jumped in the rental car with her and Frank and off we went on an 8hr drive to Pittsburgh!

Monica Borrego

February 21, 2019

I am your Mommy's cousin. Your Grandma Brenda and I are first cousins and your Grandma Josie and my Mom are sisters. I want you to know how very special your Mommy is. She is so very special that God gave her the best seat in the whole world to see you and your Daddy every single minute of every single day.
You have a great big family and so many friends that love you to pieces. You have the bestest Mommy and Daddy in the whole universe because they have the bestest Mommy and Daddy too.

We love you tons millions cazillions trillions balilions!!!!! Big tight hugs, kisses and smooches little one. May God bless you, Davis.

Cousins Monica, Anthony, Savanah, AJ and Andrew Borrego

Amy Malepeai

February 21, 2019

Vanessa was my friend in Elementary school and she was my neighbor in Antioch. She was such kind and beautiful human being and I will always cherish her friendship. I am so saddened by her passing. My deepest condolences to the family. Vanessa, rest in peace my sweet friend.

Arlene Andrade

February 21, 2019

I remember the very first time I ever met Vanessa. We were at the wedding of a mutual friend and talked all night. I remember at some point leaning over to Frank and asking, “How did you land someone like her?” He smiled and said, “I know, right?” Vanessa was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. Even though I only had the pleasure of meeting her a handful of times, she was someone I loved to be around and talk to. I would always ask Frank about her and he was always obliged to talk about her and all that she was doing and involved in. Frank and Vanessa made the perfect couple in my eyes, because while I joked about her being “out of his league” they were a perfect match. They brought out the best in each other and gave each other’s’ lives balance. I am so grateful that my friend had a person like her in his life. Then sweet Davis was announced to be born. My heart exploded for them knowing that he was a missing piece to this beautiful story. It warmed my heart to see her excitement of becoming a mother. Eventually I loved seeing all of the pictures, videos, and updates on Facebook about his arrival and growth. She was destined to be a mother, and even though that role was cut short, her impact on Davis as a mother will live on through the memories shared by his father, family, and everyone else who knew her. Davis is so lucky to have had her as a mother, and he will grow up knowing her legacy, love and strength. To my dear friend Frank: Your loss is a great one, a burden no one person should have to bear, especially with a young child. Please know how loved you and Davis are, and never forget that you have so many amazing people in your life to lean on. We are all here for you, whatever you need. All my love, sympathies, prayers and thoughts to you and Davis.💖

Denise Avila

February 21, 2019

I met Vanessa in high school and looked up to her like a big sister. she taught me all my soccer moves, and then when I became of legal age, taught me how to “party like a rockstar”.... she was such a fun person to be around, and could make me laugh to the point of tears! She was always so happy, and so full of positive energy.... When i think of Vanessa I remember her beautiful smile, her hilarious punch lines, her contagious laugh, and her ability to make any situation a positive one ❤️ I am so thankful that I had the experience of once being her friend.... Rest In Peace beautiful angel.... I will never forget you



To everyone around her, Vanessa Marie Nalepa seemed to be eternally happy, and she willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life she touched. She was expressive and full of optimism. For Vanessa, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or a twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, she could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Vanessa really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so. She managed to lighten the mood wherever she was.

Vanessa was born on February 28, 1983 at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hayward, California. Her parents were Jaime and Brenda Aragon. Vanessa was raised with three siblings; an older brother, Jaime, and two younger sisters, Tania and Presley. Vanessa was raised in Antioch, California. Even as a child, Vanessa had the ability to lift the spirits of all those around her. She was raised to be warm, caring and friendly.

She was bursting with an outgoing personality, a lively imagination and a mellowed enthusiasm for life that allowed her to be constantly on the go. She took part in soccer, track and softball. She was a member of groups that focus on team spirit. In her spare time she liked to be part of the theatre. Vanessa's memorable achievements included Delta Pride, 7th grade speech winner and a straight-A student.

Ask anyone who knew her from school and they would tell you that Vanessa was a dedicated student. Her charisma was intoxicating. Vanessa enjoyed others' laughter and the sounds of her friends and acquaintances having a good time. It could be said that for Vanessa, grades were the most important thing to her, and she really enjoyed her school experience. She enjoyed hands-on learning and applying the "practical" approach to knowledge, rather than getting caught up in "theory." Vanessa graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2001. Her favorite class in high school was leadership.

Vanessa thrived in her college years, where her imagination could run free. She was viewed by many of her classmates as being a creative, artistic person. Vanessa was usually found at the center of things, whether it was during class or in extracurricular activities. She was a happy person who loved to share her passion for fun with others. But for Vanessa, life was not a case of all play and no work. Vanessa had a wonderful imagination which led her to teaching and inspiring so many children. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Criminal Justice. She also pursued a Master's Degree in Teaching, Secondary Science Education and an art teaching certificate. Her favorite course was criminal justice. A major part of her college life, was being social chair for the Gamma Phi Sorority.

Vanessa was drawn to people with her charismatic and outgoing personality. These qualities allowed Vanessa to continually develop new relationships, ever widening her circle of friends. Vanessa utilized her interest in others as a great way to connect with them. While growing up, her best friend was Diana Smith. While in college, Vanessa met and developed lifelong friendships with Sarah Laird and Heather Thomas. Later in life, she became friends with Donyelle Powel, Katie and Ryan Sandmann, Wendy DeMille and Christine Henderson. Vanessa loved sharing life and having her home filled with people she knew.

She met the love of her life, Franklin Stephen Nalepa, in May 2008. On April 4, 2009, Vanessa and Frank exchanged wedding vows on the beaches of Santa Barbara, California. She was, and always will be, her husband's best friend. She loved her "Frankie Poo." Vanessa and Frank were blessed with one son, Davis Russell Nalepa, born on July 9, 2018. Vanessa tried every day to make her husband as happy as possible. She would leave him funny cards, write special notes, and create little gifts for him. If she was spending time with Davis, that's where all her attention was directed. She loved him dearly.

At work, as in life, Vanessa was a real "people person." She had a very successful way of dealing with others, and her enthusiasm and energy was contagious. Vanessa's talent for being a down to earth thinker allowed many around her to see Vanessa as an excellent problem solver. In high school, she worked for Rite Aid scooping ice cream and in college she worked for Mel's Diner (she loved the grilled cheese!) and was the Easter Bunny in various malls. During her adult life, she was employed with the Antioch School District for one year, Clark County School District for twelve years and K-12 online school for one year. She taught fourth grade, kindergarten and first grade. Kindergarten was by far her favorite.

Vanessa enjoyed her leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. She loved going to the movies with her husband and reading. An "arts and crafts" type, Vanessa liked creating and making things. She spent hours in the classroom creating fun and amazing bulletin boards for her students. Her favorite pursuits were running, soccer, volleyball and playing Boggle. She loved Boggle Tuesdays and game nights with family and friends! She completed the ENTIRE 26.2 MILES of the Rock-N-Roll Marathon, Summerlin Half Marathon and the Desert Dash Half Marathon and numerous 5K's.

Vanessa felt excited and challenged by sports. Even if she wasn't the best, Vanessa loved to participate and thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the pleasure of being around other people. Vanessa enjoyed the opportunities where she could make an impact, and she would often push herself to play above her abilities. A quick thinker who understood the basics, Vanessa never seemed to get caught off guard, even when confronted with unexpected conflict. In high school, Vanessa played soccer and ran track. She was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching her Oakland Raiders!

Vanessa had an endless appetite for new and different activities. She was always ready to join the fun and add her flair and energy to an organization. Because of her personality, her humor, and her ability to get along with everyone, Vanessa's service was greatly valued by the organizations to which she belonged. In college, Vanessa joined the Gamma Phi Sorority, Alpha Lambda Pledge Class and TKE Sweetheart, Campfire Girls and enjoyed participating in Greek Week and philanthropy. Throughout her later years, Vanessa was active in soccer, karaoke and dancing.

A generous person who often wore her heart on her sleeve, Vanessa often found herself involved in activities she deemed important. She was charitable, kind and giving, qualities that made her a natural volunteer. Outspoken in her beliefs, yet tactful in her dealings with others, Vanessa was a member of several community groups.

Vested with a deep concern for spiritual development, Vanessa recognized that her faith was important throughout her life. She was baptized Catholic and was a very spiritual person.
Naturally outgoing and generous, Vanessa was regularly doing things for others. For her, the gift of giving to others was second nature. Though she never set out to gain individual recognition, Vanessa was given accolades for her many and varied accomplishments throughout her life. Some of her most prestigious awards included the Clark County School District Distinguished Star Award...twice!

Vanessa loved to visit the beach and travel to new and different places. She was naturally curious about other parts of the world and loved the real life adventure that came from visiting them. She was impulsive and willing to try anything once. Her favorite vacations included Ireland, Miami, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Myrtle Beach and numerous California Beaches. She enjoyed zip-lining, rafting in Costa Rica, snorkeling, parasailing, 4-wheeling and swimming with the Dolphins and Manta Rays.

Vanessa was a lover of animals and cherished her pets, enjoying them almost as much as she enjoyed being around other people. One of Vanessa's favorites was Pookie, a mixed dog, her childhood pet. She loved her family pet Gizmo, along haired Chihuahua.

Vanessa passed away on February 16, 2019 at Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vanessa fought a long tiring battle against breast cancer. She is survived by her husband Frank, son Davis, parents Jaime and Brenda, sisters Tania and Presley, brother Jaime, and grandma Josephine. Services were held at Palm Southwest Mortuary on Friday, February 22, 2019.

Vanessa brought joy to all those around her. She never had a mean bone in her body. She loved to share her energy, wit and her zest for all of her activities with her friends and family. Vanessa Marie Nalepa lived life to its fullest and made everyone around her happier just for knowing her. She was a loving and caring wife and mother and will always be remembered with a smile.