Recent Obituaries

Thomas R. Swanson


5 to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Harvey H. Zeigler Funeral Home

Funeral Service

11 a.m.
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Harvey H. Zeigler Funeral Home

Thomas R. “Tom” Swanson, 88, of Bedford Valley Road, Bedford, PA, went home to be with the Lord and his parents on 5/26/24, just in time for his birthday on May 27th.  He was born and raised in Brookville, PA, the son of Martha (Johns) and Lawrence Swanson.  The family moved to the small town of Ellerslie, Maryland when his father was transferred  there for work. It was there that he met his best friend, Sam Kendall, while in elementary school, the two have been friends for almost 80 years.  He attended Allegany High School but transferred to the new Mt. Savage School graduating in 1954.  While in high school, he worked at DeVores Store in Ellerslie, and played basketball on the high school team.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father.  Duty called and he joined the Navy during his junior year of high school and was sent to boot camp during the summer of his junior year.  After graduating from high school, he formally went into the Navy, just as the Korean War was drawing to  a close.  He spent the next 4 years aboard the USS Kawishiwi, an “Oiler” that refueled other ships. It was during that time when he and “the girl back home who lived across the street” began to write one another …. and  continued this correspondence.  When he got out of the Navy he moved back home and began working at the PPG Plant in South Cumberland.  He eventually married that Pen Pal, Liane Cook, in November of 1957.  In time they were blessed with 5 children, Melinda (Bill) Hillegass  of Manns Choice, Sharon (the late Charles/Dutch) Kaltwasser of Lusby, MD, Jennifer (Joe) Elyard of Bedford Valley, Lawrence (Shawnee) Swanson of Teaberry Rd, and JoAnn (Bob) Yothers of Dry Fork, WV.  Tom served as a Fire Chief with the Ellerslie Fire Department and made many lifelong friends during that time.  The Swanson, Clark and Kendall families enjoyed many camping vacations together during those years.  The family moved from Ellerslie to a farm on Teaberry Rd just before JoAnn joined the family, but those friendships remained strong.  Tom would admit that he didn’t know much about farming at that time, but that didn’t stop him from trying his hand at it.  One year he was surprised to find one of the cows had had triplets, a rare event that made the Bedford Gazette, complete with pictures.  He enjoyed tinkering with the tractors and other machinery that comes with farming, and was good at fixing things.  He became skilled at working with heavy machinery and using it to do landscaping , which led to him being self-employed.   He enjoyed spending time with his family and watching them grow.  He taught the value of honest work and helping others.  He enjoyed dressing up and playing Santa for neighbors children, delivering small gifts on Christmas Eve to wide-eyed little ones.  And more than once on Christmas Eve, under cover of darkness, he would deliver and set up “practical joker-style” gag gifs to a good friend (John Ritchey) from church.  What started as a one-time event continued for several years to the delight of both families.  He never met a vehicle he couldn’t fix , but he wasn’t fond of Fords and Sam wasn’t fond of Chevys – thankfully, the two declared a truce earlier this year..  And he never met a tree he couldn’t fell especially  one in a tight space – he had a knack for it.  He helped his son and son in laws with many projects over the years.  In 1992 he suffered a near-fatal heart attack, but the Lord returned him to us and blessed us with over 30 more years with him.  He enjoyed watching his children  become parents:  Shane, Caleb  and Levi Hillegass;  Stephen and Timothy Kaltwasser,; Aaron, Sarah and Hannah (soon to wed Austin Burnett) Elyard;  SaDawna, Alizabeth and Richard Swanson; Seth, Ben (Michelle) and Dan Yothers.  He was excited to become a great grandfather when  Shane (Amanda) welcomed  Kolter, Kyler and Kaden-  Caleb (Tammy) welcomed  Aniyah and Kaiden –  Stephen (Linda) welcomed Mayli –  Aaron (Kait) welcomed Noah, — SaDawna (Kevin) welcomed Gavin – Alizabeth (Andrew) welcomed Luke – Seth (Stacy) welcomed Madelyn who will get a sibling in October.  He always wanted to know when the next great-grand was on the way.  He enjoyed several trips to Florida and a  major road trip to California, all to visit family.  He loved God and attended Bedford Valley Assembly of God for many years.  He always said, “The dear Lord has been good, I thank the Lord for my family and that they all get along good and love each other and I wouldn’t take a million dollars for that.”

He enjoyed listening to fellow Navy veteran and good friend, Floyd Engle, play guitar and sing Gospel , songs.  We know the two are sharing a cup of Navy-style coffee in heaven and swapping stories of their military service much as they did here on earth.  He loved Liane and they celebrated 66 years of marriage in November of 2023, setting an example of Godly marriage for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He is survived by his immediate family , as well as brother and sister in law Ron and Susan Cook, and several nieces, nephews and cousins  He was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother in law  Virginia and Orville Moore and nephew Ronnie Wise, son in law Charles (Dutch) Kaltwasser,  and step-sister and brother in law John and Myrna Eiser,  as well as many beloved relatives and dear friends.

The family would like to especially thank the amazing staff at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home for their kindness and wonderful care of Dad over the past several months, and the great care you provide for all residents, men and women, who have served our country.  We appreciate your dedication to the veterans who reside there.

We love you Dad!  Thank you for the example you set for us all – your love for God, your faith, your strong marriage and love for family – have given us much to aspire to and be grateful for.  We will miss you here, but we know that someday  because of Jesus, we will see you again.  So, in your own words, “Love you too!  See you later!”

Arrangements by the  Harvey H. Zeigler Funeral Home, Hyndman, PA.  Viewing at the funeral home from 5-8 pm. on Wednesday,  May 29, 2024,  and on Thursday, May 30th,  from 10-11 am at the funeral home before the service at 11 a.m..  Private family burial at the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Bard, PA at a later date.  After the service a meal will follow at 2 pm at Times Ministry  Church in Bedford, PA .  Anyone wishing to provide a remembrance in Dad’s name may do so to any of the following organizations:  Time Ministries, 5202 Business 220 Bedford, PA 15522, or In One Accord Ministries, 80 State Street, Everett, PA 15537 or to the Residents Welfare Fund of the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home, POB 319, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648.