Willie Atlas ‘Will’ McLawhorn was born in Whiteville, Columbus County North Carolina, on April 2, 1987 to Willie and Diane McLawhorn and to his sister Melanie. He lived in Whiteville until the family moved to Conway, North Carolina 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, North Carolina, 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, Georgia. 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, North Carolina, one sister, Melanie A. McLawhorn of Kelford, North Carolina and his maternal grandmother, Ellen Clark Barnes of Conway, North Carolina.
Billy and Diane,This is late,but not because our love and thoughts have not been with all of you. I was sick all of Dec. and unable to call or get over to see the family. We love you and pray that the great love of God will abide with each of you. Love from Roxobel, Mike and Jane Pruden
Diane, we are so sorry to hear of the death of Will. You and your family have been in our prayers.
It does not even seem that Will should be old enough to be in the Army. We will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers.
Thank you for your service to our great country. Your sacrifice will always live on.From a former Marine Vietnam Veteran
On behalf of my family and the family of First Baptist Church, of Scotland Neck, N. C. we wish to extent to the family of Will our love and prayers during this time of sadness and grief. If we as a church can be of help to you please let us know. May God continue to bless your family.
Diane, my heart breaks for you and your family during this time of loss. No parent ever imagines having to lose a child – and a mother, her son. Embrace the support of family, friends and colleagues. I thank your son Will for the life he led and the sacrifice made on behalf of his country. God is with you. and will carry you through this.
Diane, Willie, and Melanie, You are in our thoughts and prayers at this time. If there’s anything we can do for you let us know. With Sympathy, Jeff and Ann-Marie And Family
Preacher Willie, Ms. Diane, and Melanie: Words cannot even begin to express how sorry I am for your loss. Will was a strong, courageous, young man who I am proud to say I had the privilege to meet. I have many fond memories of my friendship with Will over the past 12 years that I will hold dear to my heart. I am proud of Will’s unwavering devotion, loyalty, and service to our country and he will truly be missed. I am grateful to Will for his sacrifice and he will forever be my hero. My deepest sympathy and love is with you all during your time of grieving. May his memory live strong in the hearts of all who knew him.
It comes with great sadness that I tell you how grateful we are for your son’s service to our great Nation. We too lost our son, James who was killed in Tuz Iraq just 3 months ago. He was an infantryman also.
I know God will be near to you during this time but please know that we are praying for you as a family.
Rev J. Mark and Susan McClamrock
parents of James F. McCLamrock, KIA 09/07/2010 IRAQ
My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Will. I know your heart is breaking, God will see you through this difficult time. I didn’t know Will,nor his family but he died with a soldier from Orlando Patrick Deans.My prayers are with you throghy the days and weeks ahead. May God bless you and I’ll keep you in my prayers. RIP Will. You are a True Hero.
My deepest sympathy to you as you deal with this loss. I had read about the loss in the paper last weekend. As the grandmother of a 101st Trooper now serving in Afghanistan and wife(now widow) of a 27 year veteran (many in the 101 and the rest in 82nd) my heart goes out to you. I know you are proud of him. Please don’t think you have to respond I just wanted you to know my prayers are with you. My granddaughter and 2 greats are waiting at Ft. Campbell. May you feel the a blessed peace and warm love of those around you.z