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A Sad Day in Baton Rouge

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Van Andrew Wilson will be buried today.

Van Andrew Wilson

Wilson,Van Andrew Beloved son, brother and friend, Van Andrew Wilson went to heaven on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. He was born in Baton Rouge on Sept. 3, 1982. Van lived a short but full life. On Dec. 9, 2005, he achieved a goal he had set in middle school — he completed training as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Van was in an auto accident while en route to his first duty assignment with SEAL Team 10 in Little Creek, Va. He graduated from Lee High School in 2000 with academic honors and was voted “Most Athletic” his senior year. He was the Louisiana state wrestling champion in his weight class. Van graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in 2004 with a bachelor of science in oceanography. He was co-captain of the U.S. Navy rugby team and president of Team Bill, the squad that handles the Navy’s mascot at football games. Confidence, fearlessness, and nonchalance –three of Van’s most notable characteristics — were the product not of bravado but of trust in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Good humor, loyalty, and genuine concern for others earned Van the title “best friend” from many of the young men who came to know him. He trained hard to be a leader of men in combat. An enlisted man who trained with him said Van was the officer under whom all the men wanted to serve. He was competent, led by example and loved his men. A fellow officer said, “If God ever needed a warrior Himself, he would pick Van Wilson.” Posted on his wall was a quote by Chief Tecumseh, “When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” Van is survived by his parents, Stephen A. and Claire Wilson of Baton Rouge; a brother and sister, Blake Wilson, recruit, U.S. Marine Corps, and Grace Erin, a freshman at LSU; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Wilson Jr. of Covington; maternal grandmother, Mrs. J.B. Whitlatch of Baton Rouge; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and fiancé, Michelle Dauro of Long Beach, Miss. Van was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, J.B. Whitlatch. Visitation at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., was on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visiting at First Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 11:30 a.m. until religious service at 1 p.m. Burial with full military honors at Port Hudson National Cemetery, attended by a U.S. Navy Color Guard. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation to the Van Wilson Memorial Fund, c/o First Presbyterian Church.

From The Advocate, the paper of Baton Rouge, LA.

The address for the First Presbyterian Church is P.O. Box 2006, Baton Rouge, LA 70821


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