Beloved Belgians carry two friends on last ride

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Brothers John and Alan Frantz, accompanied by their sons Harrison and Tim, guided Charles Lindsay's draft horses during his funeral procession Thursday.

Best buds in life. And even comrades in death.

Charles Lindsay was laid to rest Thursday, Feb. 18, at Parklawns Memorial Gardens in Chambersburg. He was transported through the cemetery in a 1905 hearse, with his own Belgian draft horses Rosie and Belle pulling the carriage. John Frantz and Alan Frantz drove the horses. Their brother David Frantz had used a truck and trailer to bring up the animals from Lindsay's Greencastle farm.

In 2012 Lindsay did the same for his friend, J. Herbert Frantz, 87. His Belgian team pulled the hearse to Green Hill Cemetery in Waynesboro.

In both cases, as was tradition, mourners walked behind the unit to the burial spot.

The two men were best friends for many, many years, said their family members. Their love of farming, draft horses, the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and participating in parades and other events, gave them a special bond. The two families knew each other well.

“It is just a real honor to do this for the family,” said Frantz's daughter Kathy Hahn. Of her siblings, she added, “They made sure Charlie's last ride was a good one.”

When Hahn's father died, Lindsay and his family provided the same dignified service. Refusing payment, they said, “Just return the favor.”

Lindsay's son John said the procession was great.  

“They were friends for a long time,” he said. “We had been showing at the farm show for about five years, and got Herb into it. They did a lot together.”

Lindsay, 93, had been active with his horses even until last year. He was well-known in Greencastle for giving wagon rides at the Apple Festival and at Christmas time. He was a familiar sight working the fields along McDowell Road with his horses. In the 1960s the Lindsay family hosted a Civil War re-enactment on Rocky Ridge Farm.

Jeremy Bowersox, operating Miller-Bowersox Funeral Home in Greencastle, and Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home in Waynesboro, provided the hearse for the two ceremonies. At the turn of the century it was purchased new by Frank Grove, and eventually fell into disrepair, Bowersox said. In the early 1990s his father Jim sent it to Amish craftsmen in Lancaster for refurbishment. It is used just occasionally for parades and funerals, with Lindsay and Frantz the only two to use it in recent times.

Lindsay family friend Brenda Eshelman, Fort Loudon, watched the solemn ceremony last week.

“It was a wonderful tribute to him.”