Claude (Punk) Swanson Astin Jr., 86, of 385 East Mountain Avenue in South Williamsport, PA was reunited with his beloved wife, Shelby Jean (Jeanie) Bolling Astin and other awaiting family and friends at the Pearly Gates on Friday, October 22, 2021.
Born on May 20, 1935, in Danville, VA, Claude is celebrating now with his father, Claude Swanson Astin Sr. and his mother, Mary Lucile Harvey Astin, along with his brothers Bill, Ben and Mike Astin, and many others.
Still here cherishing the many wonderful memories of their parents are daughter, Deborah Jean Astin LaValla with husband Victor of Hollidaysburg, PA; son, Claude (Sam) Swanson Astin III with wife Dawn of Allenwood, PA; son, Bernard (Bernie) Harvey Astin with wife Summer of Lewisburg, PA; and son, Raleigh (Dj Mr. 305) Bolling Astin and wife Carissa of Barbours, PA.
His beloved grandchildren include Samson Astin and wife Melissa of Williamsport, PA; Brittany Fischer and husband Jason of Williamsport, PA; Diana Jordan and husband Shane of Turbotville, PA; Chelsea Sweeney and husband Robert of Muncy, PA; and Brianna, Mahkenna and Ryleigh Miller of Lewisburg, PA. His adorable great-grandchildren are Jaron, Meredith, Ava, Channing, Ella, Malin, Serenity, Brinley, Charlotte, Miah, Robert (R2) and an Astin male to debut later this year.
There are numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends near and far who rejoice that Claude is finally home while still grieving his absence here. He influenced so many and has left a tremendous legacy. His adored pets Payday and Mr. Dink are well loved and cared for by family members.
Claude was a United States Air Force veteran who served as a Flight Engineer from 1953 to 1957. An avid Atlanta Braves fan, Claude enjoyed cheering his team at baseball games, watching the Hallmark Channel, collecting American coins, and spending time with family and friends. He worked in textiles in Dan River Mills in Danville, VA, beginning as a floor sweeper in his younger years and rising in promotions over time until he was overseer of over 600 employees at the time God called him into full-time Christian ministry. Claude accepted Christ as his personal Savior his first Sunday visiting the Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Danville, VA on East Thomas Street. He became very active in building a new church on Mt. Cross Road, serving as Sunday School Superintendent and driving a big red school bus named “Big Chief” for many years that transported children to church. Joining the American Rescue Workers in 1979 as a result of a Nazarene Laymen’s Retreat in Roanoke, Virginia, he began as a Warehouse Manager in Prince George’s County for 2 years before transferring to Williamsport to oversee the work here. Through Claude’s devotion and dedication, the ministry in Lycoming County grew in size and outreach. Many hungry and homeless individuals were touched by the loyalty of his unwavering and outstretched arms. He served on the National Board of Managers for the National Organization; he was appointed National Chief of Staff, and voted as National Commander in Chief by the ARW’s National Council in 1996. He retired in 2015, but he continued to serve as a National Consultant to the local and National offices. Claude was also a member of the Williamsport Kiwanis Club for many years. He maintained membership at the American Rescue Workers Community Church on 25 Ross Street, Williamsport. Like the delicious heavy cream, he loved so much while growing up on the Mt. Cross Road farm, Claude seemed to always rise to the top. And he’s done it yet again as he is now with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When his wife Jeanie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he retired from American Rescue Workers to stay home and care for the love of his life. He has missed her greatly since she went home to glory on December 26, 2020.
The family would like to thank everyone who has assisted Claude over the years and continue to provide whatever is needed to the family. Mike Charles, Mike Gephart, Jenna Girio and Tammy Stiner have been especially kind and supportive to him over the last year. The family is grateful to Joe and Amber LaValla who provided wonderful hospitality and family fun to him and Payday most recently, including an exceptional boat ride on a gorgeous lake. We thank UPMC Altoona for all they did to make his final days as comfortable as possible, especially the nurses and the Palliative Care team.
Per Claude’s wishes, his and Jeanie’s urns will be buried together at Wildwood Cemetery in Williamsport, PA on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 11:00 am. The public is invited, and light refreshments will be served at the American Rescue Workers Church on Ross Street in Williamsport, PA. On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the family will host a Life Celebration of Love to celebrate Claude’s life in a special way and remember Claude and Jeanie’s February 14 wedding anniversary. Memorial donations may be made to the American Rescue Workers, 643 Elmira Street, Williamsport, PA 17701. If you would like to specify your memorial contribution to be used to provide assistance to a veteran, you may make note of that on the memo line. Memorial contributions can also be made online for your convenience by visiting www.arwwilliamsport.org.
Arrangements are by Jones Funeral Home, Altoona, Pa