Paula Rissman Obituary

Paula Belle (Mathews) Rissman
Paula Belle (Mathews) Rissman

August 23, 1927 - May 17, 2020
Born in Union County
Resided in Urbandale, Iowa
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Paula Belle (Mathews) Rissman finished her earthly pilgrimage peacefully on May 17, 2020. She lived all 92 years in Iowa. Born in Union County, she graduated from North High School in Des Moines in 1944, and attended Drake University before beginning her work at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company. She married Lawrence W. Rissman in 1950 and raised 3 children: L. Jeffrey Rissman (Susie) of Clive, Loree Miles (David) of Dallas Center and Jon P. Rissman (Cherie) of Urbandale. She had 7 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Paula was passionate about her North High School classmates, was a founding member of Douglas Avenue Presbyterian Church, loved vacations at Lake Okoboji and their home at Sun Valley Lake, never saw a baby she didn’t love, was a voracious reader, argued politics with anyone who would dare, had high standards for her children, was crazy about her grandkids and was disappointed that her physical limitations in her later years made it difficult for her to enjoy her great grandkids.

Paula made moving a sport in her later years. She moved 11 times since 2010 because she liked new places and new faces. She spent the last few years at Deerfield Retirement Center in Urbandale. Her family celebrates her life and all the love and support she provided them. Go in Peace, Paula!

In addition to her children and their spouses, she is survived by her sisters, Sherrill Bain and Wanda Bechtel both of Urbandale, grandchildren Jennifer (Ryan) French, Minneapolis (Tilda and Margo), Annie (Andy) Pezalla of Minneapolis (Owen and Jack), Rebecca (Matt Siegel) Rissman of Naperville (Zoe and Lena), Erik (Laurine) Raker of Des Moines (Maddy and Lilly) , Mike (Jennifer Cruz) Raker of Charlottesville, VA (Ella), Robbie Rissman, Urbandale and Jessica Rissman, Urbandale.

Paula will join her husband of 64 years in the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter. The family wants to thank the incredible staff at Deerfield Retirement Center for their loving care of Paula. And to Mary Lou Hopkins we will be ever grateful for your friendship and care of our mother.

Paula desired memorials to go Scholarships for 2020 graduates of North High School. Please direct gifts to North High School, 501 Holcomb Ave. Des Moines, IA 50313 - please indicate Paula Rissman Scholarship Fund.

All are welcome to a celebration of Paula's life that will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, December 10, 2021 at Iles Westover Chapel. Interment will be held at 9:30 a.m., Friday, December 10, 2021, prior to the service, at Iowa Veterans Cemetery.

For those unable to attend, the celebration of Paula's life will be livestreamed. A link will appear, just prior to the service, on Paula's obituary page at Please call 515-276-4567 with any questions or concerns.

Online condolences are welcome at






Iowa Veterans Cemetery
34024 Veterans Memorial Drive
Adel, IA US 50003
Friday, December 10, 2021
9:30 AM
A Celebration of Life
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Friday, December 10, 2021
11:00 AM


North High School Paula Rissman Scholarship
501 Holcomb Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50313
Paula’s desire for memorials be for Scholarships for 2020 graduates of North High School. Please direct gifts to North High School and indicate Paula Rissman Scholarship Fund.