York County's real estate and equine enthusiast communities are mourning over the New Year's Eve death of Anne Bathon, a Realtor and businesswoman who died after an unusual accident at her Codorus Township farm.
A barrel racer, Bathon operated Buffalo Springs Horse Farm on Buffalo Valley Road, where she trained in equine sports, offered horseback rides, and hosted special events. She was a licensed Realtor for more than 20 years, but those who knew her said horses were her true passion, and she would have likely spent this week participating in events at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
The 55-year-old was working in a barn on the farm with her daughter around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, apparently gathering hay to feed horses from stacks of bales piled nine-high, according to York County Coroner Barry Bloss. Bathon's daughter left to feed some horses and, when she returned, she discovered a 500-pound bale of hay had fallen on her mother, crushing her, Bloss said.
Deputy Coroner Steve Cosey said Bathon was transported to York Hospital and pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m. The cause of death was chest trauma and the manner of death, accidental. No autopsy is planned, Cosey said.
Bloss characterized the accident as "not common," and a first during his 16 years as coroner.
Real estate family: Bathon has been a licensed Realtor since 1990 and first took up business with her mother, Georgia Bathon, who owned Bathon Real Estate in Codorus Township, said Steve Snell, executive officer at the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.
Snell said real estate professionals, many of whom have been on vacation for the holidays, are still learning of Anne Bathon's death. His organization will be sending obituary notices to members when memorial service information is made available, he said.
Bathon Real Estate dissolved after Georgia Bathon died several years ago, and Anne Bathon started working for longtime friend and broker Mindy Vance Bouman at Country Home Real Estate, Bouman said.
"She was a very sweet, gentle soul ... easy to get along with," Bouman said. "I knew the family since 1985 when I worked for her mother."
Anne Bathon worked part time and didn't have any sale transactions being processed at the time of her death, Bouman said.
"She was all about her horses and her farm," Bouman said. "She spent most of her time at her farm, and she was more of an owner of the farm than she was into real estate. She knew real estate inside and out but chose to spend most of her time at the farm."
Bouman lives near Bathon's farm and recalled that a fire a few years ago, in which some horses died, had been devastating to their owner.
Now that tragedy has befallen the farm again, Bouman said Bathon's colleagues were stunned by the news of her death.
"She was only 55, so it was very shocking to hear, and it greatly saddened us," she said.
Horse enthusiast: Don Lovedahl is owner of The Saddle Shop in East Berlin, and he had known Bathon for about eight years, he said.
His store had done a lot of repair and saddle work on the farm, related to the trail rides and rentals Bathon offered, he said.
"She was a hard worker, that's for sure," he said. "She had several employees and she was rodeo girl, I knew that."
He said Bathon was a noted barrel racer and spent a lot of time focused on the sport.
According to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Bathon won the 2012 Invitational Barrel Race. She's listed as having participated and placed in numerous events.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.