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 William Earl Van Essen

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William Earl Van Essen

  • Birth 24 Dec 1919 Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Death 14 Dec 1994 Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
  • Burial Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
  • Plot Block 45 Lot 100 SEC N 1/2
  • GPS
  • Memorial ID 45625242

Graduated from Brainerd High School in 1938.

Graduated from Brainerd Junior College in 1940 as a member of its first graduating class.

Enrolled as a chemical engineering student at the University of Minnesota. He joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor and flew anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic.

After the war he managed Van's Cafe in Brainerd, MN, eventually buying it from his parents. He retired in 1976 and spent the remainder of his years enjoying his cabin on Rice Lake with his wife and children.

He was involved with many civic organizations and was named "Brainerd Citizen of the Year" in 1991.

Bill died 10 days shy of his 75th birthday from complications a month after undergoing cardiac surgery for a dissecting aortal aneurysm.

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               BRONZE STAR IS
                    AWARDED TO LT.
                         BILL VAN ESSEN

     A Bronze Star Medal has been awarded by the Navy Department to Lt. (j. g.) William M.[sic - E.] Van Essen, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Van Essen for outstanding actions against the enemy.
     Lt. Van Essen was cited for his heroic action aboard the aircraft carrier Block Island which was sunk a few months ago. Van Essen, a pilot in a group which sunk six Nazi submarines, received his award for participating in attacking and destroying a sub which resulted in sinking of enemy vessels and capture of 55 surviving crew members.
     The German prisoners were picked up by the aircraft carrier and brought to the United States. On her next cruise, the Block Island was sunk and for the past six months, Lt. Van Essen has been assigned to the U. S. S. Tripoli.
     He has completed a recent cruise and at present is spending a two-week leave at the home of his parents. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 December 1944, p. 1, c. 4)

Family Members

  • Created by: John Van Essen
  • Added: 19 Dec 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 45625242
  • AngelWings
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Earl Van Essen (24 Dec 1919–14 Dec 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 45625242, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by John Van Essen (contributor 47136297) .