VIDEO: Funeral for Battle Ground mother and daughter adjusts to fit restrictions on gatherings



A live stream and a procession honored Rosa and Juniper Wilson on Wednesday

HOCKINSON — In the reality of a viral pandemic, adjustments must be made.

It’s why yellow flowers filled the pews inside the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Hockinson on Wednesday, as friends and family said goodbye to Rosa Wilson and her five-year-old daughter Juniper.

Yellow flowers filled the seats at Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church during the funeral for Rosa and Juniper Wilson, due to a restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people in Washington state. Photo courtesy Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church
Yellow flowers filled the seats at Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church during the funeral for Rosa and Juniper Wilson, due to a restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people in Washington state. Photo courtesy Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church

“Beautiful yellow flowers, for Rosa and Juniper, and for all of you,” said lead pastor Ron Holmgren during the funeral, which was broadcast live via YouTube. “People are with you.”

The outpouring of support for the young family was immediate and sustained since that tragic day on March 6 when a head-on crash killed 31-year-old Rosa and their 5-year-old daughter Juniper Kate; 3-year-old Iona and 7-year-old Elliott suffered serious injuries. 

People waited in cars, watching a funeral for Rosa and Juniper Wilson on a live stream, due to restrictions on large gatherings in Washington state. Photo by Chris Brown
People waited in cars, watching a funeral for Rosa and Juniper Wilson on a live stream, due to restrictions on large gatherings in Washington state. Photo by Chris Brown

Holmgren says the list of people hoping to visit Brian and the couple’s children at the hospital was often exceedingly long. 

“I thought this facility would not hold the numbers, and I wondered how that would go,” he said. “Well, I think it’s even fuller today than I expected.”

With an executive order from the governor in place, limiting crowd sizes to fewer than 50 people, the church had to come up with a new plan.

Brian and Rosa Wilson. Photo via Facebook
Brian and Rosa Wilson. Photo via Facebook

Thus, the flowers standing in for the community members who had hoped to pay their respects.

Instead, hundreds gathered outside, waiting in their cars and watching the live stream.

Then, as the funeral wound down, they emerged from their vehicles, walking up the road to stand along the driveway to the church, all the way down NE 164th Street to the main road through town.

Yellow was Rosa’s favorite color, and it seemed especially poignant that yellow flowers, including a patch of daffodils, lined the road from the church. 

Unplanned, but appropriate.

Yellow flowers, Rosa’s favorite color, lined the driveway to Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church, where a funeral was held on Wednesday for the Battle Ground mother and her 5-year-old daughter. Photo by Chris Brown
Yellow flowers, Rosa’s favorite color, lined the driveway to Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church, where a funeral was held on Wednesday for the Battle Ground mother and her 5-year-old daughter. Photo by Chris Brown

Rosa was known for her love of sparkling drinks, especially kombucha, as well as a heart for those in need. She could often be found baking up goodies for people who had hit hard times.

Perhaps it was a way of giving back. Brian had suffered severe head injuries years before in a fall from a tree, and the community the extrovert had built up rushed to the family’s aid then.

They’ve done so again this time. 

A construction company has offered to finish remodeling the couple’s home that they recently bought. A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $180,000, and another one raised almost $15,000 to help fly family out for the funeral. Anything extra is going to Brian and the children.

Hundreds lined up from the driveway of Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church down NE 164th Street to 182nd Avenue on Wednesday to honor Rosa and Juniper Wilson, killed earlier this month in a head-on car crash. Photo by Chris Brown
Hundreds lined up from the driveway of Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church down NE 164th Street to 182nd Avenue on Wednesday to honor Rosa and Juniper Wilson, killed earlier this month in a head-on car crash. Photo by Chris Brown

Arm around his sister Lana Wilson Aho, Brian Wilson reprised the duet they sang at his wedding to Rosa. It was called “Twice as good.”

“And it really was, you know?” he said, blinking back tears. “We sang that at the beginning of this chapter, and now … it’s not the end, but it’s the end of this chapter.”

In better news, 3-year-old Iona continues to improve after suffering severe head and neck injuries in the crash, as well as several broken bones. According to a family friend, she was moved out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) this week, and will be spending the next several weeks in a pediatric rehab wing. 

Seven-year-old Elliott was released from the hospital on Sat., March 14 and is now staying with his grandparents so Brian can continue to stay with Iona at the hospital.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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