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Washington County farmer died in tractor accident 'doing what he loved'

| Monday, July 14, 2014, 9:56 p.m.

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 jcato@tribweb.com.

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