Washington County farmer died in tractor accident 'doing what he loved'
Louis “Lou” Kaposy picked coal, raised cattle and baled hay for about 90 years on a family farm in eastern Washington County near the West Virginia border.
He died on Sunday when the antique Farmall tractor he was operating tumbled down a wooded embankment between a field he was mowing and the faded turquoise home on Meadowcroft Road in Jefferson Township that he shared with his wife. He was 95.
David Was, 50, said he befriended Kaposy after moving to Meadowcroft Road six years ago. On Sunday, he helped Kaposy fix the knife head on his tractor so he could mow a hay field.
Kaposy worked the field for a couple of hours before a thunderstorm led him to head toward home about 3:30 p.m., Was said. Gladys Kaposy called the Was residence about 5 p.m. to see if her husband was there.
“I searched for that man for three hours,” a tearful Was said.
Shortly before 8 p.m., a family friend discovered tire tracks going off the road and over the hillside. They found Kaposy's body pinned underneath.
“He died doing what he loved. That's the way he would have wanted to go,” Was said. “I just pray he didn't suffer.”
Washington County Coroner Timothy Warco pronounced Kaposy dead at 9:40 p.m. The cause of death is undetermined, pending an autopsy. State police are investigating.
“It's a shame,” said Joe Miller, 48, who acknowledged having squabbles with Kaposy during their 30 years as neighbors. “We might have had our differences, but I know a lot of farmers — and I wouldn't wish this on anybody.”
On Monday, the tractor remained upside down at the bottom of a heavily wooded hill in the rural hollow, known locally as Seldom Seen.
A one-room schoolhouse stands nearby at Meadowcroft Village and Rockshelter, an educational center operated by Heinz History Center. A former hotel, bank and train station, as well as many homes, are long gone, neighbors said.
The Kaposy family emigrated from Hungary, Was said. Kaposy's father bought the farm, at one time 130 acres, when Kaposy was about 5, he said.
Kaposy picked coal in the hills as a child and later drove coal trucks and operated heavy equipment while raising cattle, Was said. He sold most of his herd in recent years, though he maintained more than a dozen head.
The farmhouse where Kaposy lived most of his life collapsed after remnants of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 washed out a rickety bridge that provided access to the property. Kaposy moved into the converted mobile home with his wife, neighbors said.
An old dog rested Monday in a steel barrel converted into a dog house. Two cats lay beside the driveway, and two old Farmalls sat idle in a corner of the yard.
“I'm going to miss him,” Was said. “I'm going to miss that tractor coming down the road every day.”
Jason Cato is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.