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Colleagues remember victim of fatal yoga studio shooting

Dr. Nancy Van Vessem / Courtesy: TMH
Dr. Nancy Van Vessem / Courtesy: TMH(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 5, 2018 at 5:13 PM EST
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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

November 5, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Three days after a shooting that left two dead and five others injured, staff at Capital Health Plan held a moment of silence to honor a colleague fatally shot.

Doctor Nancy Van Vessem was one of two people killed after a gunman open fired at Hot Yoga in Midtown. Van Vessem was 61 years old.

On Monday afternoon, flowers sat outside the doors of CHP, where Van Vessem worked for nearly 24 years.

"When people spent any time with Nancy, they became friends pretty quickly. She had a very outgoing personality. She had an optimism about her, she really had a light within her," said John Hogan, President of Capital Health Plan.

Hogan worked with Van Vessem for more than two decades. He said her loss is devastating to CHP, and the greater community.

"It's just an enormous loss. There's no way to easily replace someone like Nancy. And you don't want to," he said.

Colleagues of Nancy said she was always focused on making the medical community better.

"Whatever she did, she wanted to do well. If she touched something, she wanted to make it better," said Mark O'Bryant, CEO of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

Van Vessem served as a physician before working on the administrative side of things for CHP. She also helped start the Florida State University College of Medicine, where she served as a faculty member.

"We'd like to think all physicians are all about the patient, but I think she truly walked the walk. And she really did that," said John Fogarty, Dean at the college.

Though colleagues said she was a driving force in moving the medical community forward, they said the job she took the most pride in was being a mother.

"If you ever wanted to get Nancy smiling ear to ear, all you had to do was talk about her daughters. And she would beam. It was her favorite topic," said O'Bryant.

All three men said that Nancy is irreplaceable.

"She was just one of those solid, solid characters. You never had to worry about Nancy. If she was going to do something, she was going to do it well. It was all about everybody else," said O'Bryant.