The issue is a bit deeper, and I'm not sure exactly what is going on. The clip I point to in the pic is broke. It clips in the rod that connects to the key tumbler. If it falls out I guess I can still unlock with the FOB. However, here is where the issue progresses...
The actuator was for sure bad. The latch-actuator assembly (with new actuator) functions if not installed. When I install it I can only unlock. It's too bound up to lock (this is with the lock rod NOT clipped in). With the lock rod clipped in it also cannot be locked with the manual lock as it's too bound/tight. I pulled the lock-actuator assembly in-and-out several times and finally brought the latch inside for a closer inspection. Unlocking while at the kitchen table is easier than locking, but not appreciably so. I applied lubricant to all moving parts and that seemed to help a decent bit. Again tested the assembly before installing in the door and lock-unlock works OK, though locking seems a tad more effort. With the assembly installed in the door it just can't lock. Weird. Maybe related to the orientation?
I'm running out of daylight and can't take tomorrow off so it's back together. I showed my wife how to use the key and the FOB simultaneously to lock, and suggested she not lock the door unless she feels compelled. Bottom line, I think the latch mechanism is worn out and that caused the actuator to fail. So my screw-up breaking the clip may be moot as I suspect a latch assembly will come with the clip. Ebay has a used part for $140 shipped. Seems a bit steep.
This is a 2000 model with >280k miles, so having a part like this wear out doesn't seem too unusual. It's been a good van with the exception of door related components. Door handles, actuators, power mirrors, etc. I've been in the doors of this van more than all my current and previous vehicles combined.