William Joseph Lavan

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WILKES-BARRE — William Joseph Lavan, 88, of Wilkes-Barre, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Plains Township, with his family by his side.

He was born in the Georgetown section of Wilkes-Barre Township on June 9, 1925, a son of the late Charles and Maria Lyall Lavan. William attended Wilkes-Barre Township High School. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, where he was wounded in the Battle of Iwo Jima and he was awarded the Purple Heart. William worked for 17 years as a miner in the local coal mines and then as a corrections officer at State Correctional Institute at Dallas, where he retired as a sergeant in 1988.

He was a member of St. Andrew's Parish, the former St. Patrick's Church, Parrish Street, Wilkes-Barre, and the Wilkes-Barre Township American Legion, Post 815.

He was preceded in death by his son-in-law, William Harding; grandson, Christopher Harding; sisters Mary Dugan and Regina Dotzel; brothers John Lavan Sr., Charles Lavan, Gerald and James Lavan; sister-in-law Marie Cerwonka; brothers-in-law Donald Ruddy and George Schultz.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Madeline Schultz Lavan; children, Marie Harding, Hanover Township; William Lavan Jr. and his wife, Doreen, Wilkes-Barre; Brian Lavan and his wife, Sharon, Wilkes-Barre; grandsons, Jason and Todd Harding; William Lavan and his wife, Christina; Brian and Ross Lavan; brother Thomas Lavan Sr. and his wife, Marilyn, Wilkes-Barre Township; sister Peggy Krutski, Wilkes-Barre Towsnship; sisters-in-law Mary Ann Lavan, Anna Mae Lavan, Jane Lavan, Dorothy Ruddy; brother-in-law Fred Dotzel.

Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home, 89 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10 a.m. in St. Andrew's Parish, 316 Parrish St., Wilkes-Barre. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hanover Township. Friends may call 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral home.

The family would like to thank the Celtic Health Care and the Veteran's Hospital for their help during William's illness.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Karen Lavan-Bokelman Foundation (benefiting women with breast cancer in memory of William's niece), c/o Susan Kaufer, 930 Maple St., Shavertown, PA 18708, or online at

Online condolences may be sent by visiting William's obituary at

Funeral Home
Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home
89 Park Ave
Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
(570) 825-3138
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Published in Times Leader from Dec. 15 to Dec. 16, 2013
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