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Willie Atlas “Will” McLawhorn

CONWAY – Willie Atlas “Will” McLawhorn was born in Whiteville, Columbus County NC., on April 2, 1987 to Willie and Diane McLawhorn and to his sister Melanie.  He lived in Whiteville until the family moved to Conway, NC in 1998.

Will enjoyed sports as a boy, playing baseball in the Dixie Youth League in Whiteville.  He also participated in the RA basketball league of the Columbus Baptist Association.  He was baptized into the Western Prong Baptist Church and enjoyed his associations with many friends there.

Upon coming to Conway, he continued his love of sports participating in Rec league baseball and basketball.  Will attended Northeast Academy of Lasker, NC, graduating in 2005.  While there he continued his love of basketball and baseball, playing both sports on the junior varsity and varsity level. He was selected to the All-Roanoke-Chowan Baseball Team his senior year.  Will also enjoyed hunting and killed an 8 point buck with his first shot.

From an early age, Will loved to play army, building forts and tossing pine cones pretending they were grenades.  In November 2006, Will officially became an infantryman when he joined the United States Army.   He did basic training and AIT at Fort Benning, Ga.  Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division where he became a part of the Screaming Eagle family. Prior to deployment to Iraq in 2007, he graduated from Air Assault School, earning his Air Assault Wings.  He served 15 months in Iraq and reenlisted for 5 years while there.  During the next months he earned his Airborne Jump Wings as well as additional training for becoming an NCO.  In June of 2010 he deployed with his unit to Afghanistan.  Will grew to love his country and wanted to protect her…even if it meant giving his life.  He loved his band of brothers who affectionately called him “Claw.”

Will loved life and had a great sense of humor, often quipping out one-liners that could leave you in stitches. He was faithful to his friends and would stand with them through thick and thin.  He knew that death was a possibility with what he did, but because of his faith, he saw death as simply “another great adventure.”  A great soldier and a great man will be surely missed.

Preceding him in death are his maternal grandfather, Earl Barnes, and his maternal grandmother and grandfather, Martha Smith McLawhorn and H.M. McLawhorn

Survivors include his mother and father, Diane and Willie McLawhorn of Conway, NC; one sister, Melanie A. McLawhorn of Kelford, NC; and his maternal grandmother, Ellen Clark Barnes of Conway, NC.

Funeral services with military honors will be conducted on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Conway Baptist Church in Conway, NC.  The interment will follow at the Conway Cemetery in Conway, NC.

The family will receive friends at the Conway Baptist Church Sanctuary on Friday evening from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 7020 AC Skinner Pkwy, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL  32256 or the Sergeant Will McLawhorn Memorial Fund, c/o Northeast Academy, 10 Church Street, Lasker, NC  27845.

Sykes Funeral Service of Rich Square is handling the arrangements and online condolences may be directed to the family at www.sykesfuneralservice.com