LtCol Ray E LaVan Jr
Ray E LaVan Jr
Fox Company 1965
2 July 1937 - 12 May 2020
Paul Mangan Fox Company writes that earlier this year 2/1 lost another Warrior. LtCol Ray LaVan (USMC Retired). Ray, at the time a Captain, was the Company Commander of Foxtrot 2/1 when the Battalion was initially reactivated in January of 1965 and remained Foxtrot CO through the formation, training and lock on phase, right up until shortly before the Battalion boarded ship for the float to Okinawa and Vietnam. Ray went on to command another infantry company, but all of us original Foxtrot Brothers liked and respected him.
Ray LaVan peacefully passed away on 12 May 2020 at his home in Fredericksburg, VA. He was 82 years old.
Ray was born on 2 July 1937 in Gainesville, GA, to Lieutenant Colonel Ray E. LaVan Sr., USACE, and Mary Viola Henderson. He attended the US Naval Academy and graduated with the Class of 1959. He was an excellent swimmer and played high school, USNA Battalion and USMC Division football.
Ray chose to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was a highly decorated warrior and combat rifle company CO, He also was a graduate of the National War College. Ray was admired and respected by his men. He served two combat tours in Viet Nam and was awarded a Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service and Campaign Medals, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Joint Service Commendation Medal. Ray left the military in 1969 and accepted a position with the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Ray served as Chief of Security for the Bureau; served on the National Security Council Staff; and was a Senior Executive, Level 4 upon his retirement in 2003.
Ray was a true Renaissance man. He was an excellent cook and connoisseur of wine. He was a United States and World historian, and a Civil War expert. He often spoke of his maternal great-grandfather, a combat Confederate infantryman, and his paternal great-grandfather, a combat Union Army officer. He loved USNA and Washington Redskins football.
Rays first love, his late wife, Penny, was loving and caring in raising their four children. She was both a mother and father while Ray did two combat tours in Vietnam. He would always talk about her and their four children, and how proud he was of their accomplishments and careers. He especially loved his grandchildren and was proud of their academic and athletic achievements.
Ray was blessed with a second love, his wife, Jan. They spent 32 wonderful years together during which they built a beautiful home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They also enjoyed all kinds of music and theater, often going to DC and Richmond for concerts and plays.
Ray is survived by his wife, Janet Hansleben LaVan. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Penelope West LaVan, the mother of their children: Ray Evan LaVan III (and his wife, Ann Lanoue LaVan), Erin Elizabeth Fagan (and her husband, Matt, and their children, Mitchell Bernard Fagan and Matteline Ayers Fagan), Kathryn Bee LaVan Prillaman (and her husband, Grayson, and their children, Elizabeth LaVan Prillaman, Louisa Kemper Prillaman and Grayson West Prillaman) and Patrick West LaVan.
A family service and inturnment will take place at the Naval Academy Columbarium at a date to be determined.
If you knew Ray, you were very fortunate, lucky and proud to call him a friend.