Shana Lyn Vachhani was born in Hobart, Indiana on October 12th, 1973 and moved to her family's farm, the Charles cranberry marsh in Warrens, Wisconsin, at the age of seven with her mother, Marianne Strozewski, her father, Charles (Chuck) Strozewski, and her brother, Joel Strozewski. She attended Tomah Public Schools where she was taught by her Grandma Lorraine and Marianne. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Minneapolis where she met her best friend, Andrea Voss, and soon thereafter, her husband and best friend, Neil Vachhani, to whom she was married for 19 incredible years.
A room was always better when Shana entered it, a backyard pool was always better when she floated next to you, you knew a joke was good when she laughed at it, every happy hour was better when she sang karaoke or picked the songs on the jukebox. The world is a much better place for the many lives Shana impacted during her life, and at the same time an infinitely worse place because of the many, many friends who no longer have her as a confidante, truth teller, and cheerleader.
Shana's younger years on the cranberry marsh were filled with supporting family harvests and hunting gatherings, as well as many festivities with her close family and friends. In her teenage years, her trips to Europe with Marianne catalyzed her lifelong love of food, travel, and adventure. She moved to Minneapolis in the early 90s where she and Andrea briefly and secretly used her parents' gas card to survive on convenience store meat snacks, while they spent evenings debating the finer points of 8-ball pool at various local bars. She joined the Air Force Reserve in the mid 90s, traveling to places far and wide including Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Hawaii. After her time as a reservist ended, she was hired at Clifton Larson Allen where she worked for 20 years in their non-profit practice, in the process, developing lifelong friendships and cultivating her commitment to charitable causes she believed in.
In 2000, Shana found love in Neil, a roguish law school grad working for a family business, in part through their shared love of live music and First Avenue, an affinity that would continue for the duration of their life together. Their courtship culminated in their 2004 nuptials, a festive Indian wedding with a live rock band and much rejoicing and merriment with their large families. After settling in Minneapolis, she could often be found at 7th Street Entry or The Turf Club or Lambeau Field or watching an F1 race, and she loved visiting any country that was warm and had cobalt blue water. She was a champion of any restaurant that knew how to sous vide, and any bakery that made cake donuts correctly.
Shana was a hilarious and doting aunt to her niece and nephews, Emma, Ian, and Arlo, and many of her friends' children as well. Neil and Shana each have huge families of cousins, nieces and nephews - for Shana, the Mistele, Schmitz and Strozewski families in Wisconsin, and for Neil, the Dadhania, Javia, and Vachhani families, on the East and West Coasts.
Her life following a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis two and half years ago was a courageous study in both strength and honesty and her ability to inspire others while checking items off her own bucket list. Shana's energy and grace during this time should be examined by philosophers, taught by life coaches, and emulated by all who wish to demonstrate a life well-lived.
"One Night Only: The Shana Vachhani Farewell Show," an event celebrating Shana's life, will be held at the Hollywood Theater in Minneapolis on November 18th at 4:00 pm, with more details to come.
For anyone interested in supporting charitable causes that Shana supported, she was directly involved with Minneapolis’ Community Emergency Services, through their Meals on Wheels program: