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March 11, 1938 ~ January 13, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old
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Claude William Aston, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 13. 2024 at his home in Branson at the age of 85. He was born March 11, 1938 to Manuel and Edith Aston, in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from Northeast High School, Kansas City, MO in 1956, Southwest Baptist College, 1958, Southwest Missouri State College, now MSU, 1962, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1969.
In 1958, Bill met Sandra Fenton in the dining hall at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, MO and from that moment on they became an inseparable team: loyal and loving. There were joined in marriage on November 3, 1962. As of today they had known each other for 66 years and married 61 of those years. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “What the heart has once owned it shall never lose.”
After graduating from SMSC, he began his teaching career at Everton, MO as music supervisor and teacher, in grades 1-8, as well as directing high school choir, glee clubs and band. From Everton, it was a move to Clinton, MO where the public school offered the same position and Bill taught Junior and Senior High choirs and glee clubs.
Yet, as a Christian he had committed his life to Christian service. And not forgetting that commitment he enrolled at Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, MO graduating in the spring of 1969 with a Master of Religious Education Degree. His area of ministry was Religious Education, music, and youth ministry. He worked with some of the most talented youth who are now parents and grandparents. He served churches in Missouri, Illinois and Florida.
In 1982 he enrolled in a clinical program at Research Medical and Baptist Medical Centers in Kansas City. The program was entitled “Clinical Pastoral Education” which was to prepare one for hospital ministries. After graduation he served as hospital chaplain at Baptist Hospital, Miami, OK and Skaggs Regional Hospital, Branson, MO. He retired in 2006 after 27 years.
Bill is survived by his best friend and wife, Sandy; two sons, Scott of Branson and Shawn of Quy Nhon, Vietnam; granddaughter, Andrea of Washington; sister-in-law, Pam Wilson, husband Larry and nephew Jake Wilson all of Springfield, MO; and cousin George Leo Smith and wife Lois of Green Forest, MO.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Manuel and Edith Aston; one brother, Don and wife Velma Aston; his grandparents, especially Grammy Campbell; fourteen aunts and uncles and many cousins.
Bill will be remembered for his life’s work in various ministries. He was also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. Most of all, he enjoyed time spent with his family and friends.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be on February 24, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church Branson. He will be interred at Mount Washington Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri.
Anyone who wishes to do something in Bill’s memory might consider a donation to the music department at Southwest Baptist University, 1600 University Avenue, Bolivar, MO 65613.