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Family mourns the death of a soldier

Special Forces Army Ranger Joel David Clarkson is shown in a recent family photo with his wife Cassandra and son, Orion.  - submitted photo
Special Forces Army Ranger Joel David Clarkson is shown in a recent family photo with his wife Cassandra and son, Orion.
— image credit: submitted photo

Special Forces Army Ranger Joel David Clarkson, the grandson of longtime Oak Harbor resident Virginia Williams, died from a combat-related injury in Afghanistan this week.

“My world just ended. I have lost my baby,” Joel’s mother Karen Williams-Clarkson posted on her Facebook page about noon Wednesday. He was pronounced dead on March 17.

Clackson was wounded in Afghanistan Friday, March 12, when a bullet penetrated his skull. He underwent two surgeries in Afghanistan and was transported to Germany for further care. Doctors pronounced him brain dead Wednesday morning.

Seven of his organs went to save the lives of others.

Joel’s uncle, David Williams of Oak Harbor, described his nephew as an athletic, outgoing young man whose life fell into place after he joined the service and started a family of his own.

“Everything just clicked,” Williams said. “His drive was to be a soldier.”

Joel leaves behind his wife, Cassandra, and 9-month-old son, Orion, of Puyallup; sister Jessica Clarkson of Fairbanks; mother Karen Clarkson-Williams of Fairbanks; uncle David Williams of Oak Harbor; and grandmother Virginia Williams of Oak Harbor.

Services are to be held Saturday, March 27 in Fort Lewis, Wash., and on April 5 in Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest. There will also be a small service in Alaska at a later date.

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