Kenneth R. VanGiesen, 30, of Gorman Drive, Erie, formerly of Kane, died Monday, July 18, 2011 as the result of injuries sustained while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
Born Aug. 3, 1980 in Kane, he was the son of Thomas A. and Susan J. Proashas VanGiesen.
A 1999 graduate of Kane Area High School, he was a three-year letterman in football and played in the Don Raabe Big 30 Classic. Later that year he joined the Army National Guard as a Technical Mechanic. Ken served four tours in 12 years, having served in Germany, twice in Iraq and later in Afghanistan. He served 1,400 mobilized days in overseas deployment, being one of only 16 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen serving that level of active duty. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.
He was a member of the American Legion and the Loyal Order of Moose, both in Millcreek, the American Legion Riders and various VFW posts. He also was a member of the Kane Fish & Game Club.
Surviving in addition to his parents of Kane are his grandfather, Rowland Proashas of Kane; his high school sweetheart Erin Sirianni with whom he lived; his sister Amie (Joe) Gullifer and their children Isaac and Hannah of Kane; his brother Matt (Heather) VanGiesen and their children Courtney and Carly of Oak Harbor, Wash.; Erinâ€™s parents Frank and Sherry Sirianni of Kane; and his beloved dog and companion, Bandit. Several aunts, uncles and cousins also survive.
Private visitation will be held at the Ronald McDonald II Funeral Home, Inc. in Kane.
The family will receive friends at the Kane Area High School on Thursday from noon until 3 p.m., at which time a service will be held there with the rev. Chad Troup, pastor of the First Church of God, officiating. Afterwards, the family and funeral cortege will process from the high school, turn onto Hemlock Avenue, then to South Fraley Street and proceed through Kane. Burial will be held privately in Gibbs Hill Cemetery, Ludlow, with full military honors.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850-5168; or at http://www.fisherhouse.org.
Online condolences may be made at http://www.ronaldmcdonaldfuneralhome.com.