Vanessa Wilson


Our loving Vanessa Ersella Wilson traded her wheels for wings to become our guardian angel on Monday, April 17, 2023, holding the hand of her second mom, Tanya at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, ND.

Vanessa was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, on January 19, 1980, to George and Ionie (Hendricks) Wilson. She lived her childhood years there until around the age of six when Hurricane Hugo hit the Caribbean. Her father brought her to the Anne Carlson Center for Children for a life more suited to her health and happiness.

As hard as it was for George to leave his daughter, he sought out special caretakers to give her the best attention. It was here where she was introduced to her best friend and ‘mother’, Tanya. The Sabinash family took her in and started traditions that lasted a lifetime. V spent most holidays and special events with family along with various others who treated her as one of their own. She lived and attended school at the Anne Carlsen Center for Children for 15 years. At the age of twenty-one, she transitioned to the Open-Door Center at Group Home Five in Valley City, ND. It was here that she enjoyed her work friends and housemates, specialty nights, baking, mini-vacations, and van rides. Vanessa had a big love for music and attended many concerts with various friends over the years. Her shopping habits didn’t go unnoticed as she was very generous to others, always wanting to pick out a special gift.

As we all know, there were things that Vanessa couldn’t do. She couldn’t walk, or talk, many things others take for granted every day. When some people looked at her, that’s what they saw - the things she couldn’t do. Vanessa was persistent in showing the things she could do. She had a smile that could light up a room, a laugh that the whole room could hear, a squeeze or handhold that could show she cared, and a sign to show she understood. She also taught us how to be happy because she took joy in simple things - joy in seeing her friends and family, and joy in living life itself.

”Ness” reminded us that most of our problems are not really problems, and to be grateful for what we have. She taught us the gift of unconditional love; loving even when it’s not easy, simply because you care. We believe that is the greatest triumph of any life; To love and to be loved. Her life wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t glamorous. V liked to add in her touch of glitz and glam wherever she could with her flawless complexion, beautiful smile, and bits of sass.

Vanessa was our rainbow. When you look up to see the blue skies, remember that it is only because we have endured the storm that we are lucky enough to see a rainbow. Through the tough times, the adversity, and the challenges; she shone through with a special light. It’s not fair that she shone brightly only for a short time. Yet we can be assured that like the rainbow, she was a blessing from above. May we never forget this beautiful gift, and honor her memory every time we look up to the sky, look past the clouds, and see the rainbow.

Vanessa is survived by her special family; Mike, Tanya and Taylor Sabinash, Kayla, Aaron, & Brynlee Rodin, Kolten, Danette & Stetson Sabinash. Biological siblings; Brothers: Jerord E Wilson, and Alvie James. Sisters; Carolyn Misonge, Anita Wilson-Allen, and Euella Wilson-Richards. Vanessa also has an army of loved ones including many aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews who loved her deeply.

Vanessa was greeted in heaven by her parents George and Ionie Wilson.

A special thanks to many teachers, caregivers, and friends along the way at the Anne Carlsen Center for Children, Open Door Center, and St. Rafael.

Please send any memorials to the Anne Carlsen Center for Children in Jamestown, or the Open Door Center in Valley City, North Dakota.

Vanessa’s Visitation will be held one hour prior to the Funeral Service which will include a time for sharing that will be held Saturday, April 22, 2023, at 3:00PM at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Kensal, ND.

Her Burial will be at the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Kensal, ND at a later date.

On-line condolences may be sent at

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