Doug Claborn, left, and his father Ken ride in a railcar in Florida in 2011.
Doug Claborn, left, and his father Ken ride in a railcar in Florida in 2011. (Submitted)

One of Doug Claborn's earliest memories with his dad, Kenneth "Ken" Dale Claborn, is riding the steam train at Disney World together because Doug, five or six years old at the time, was too young to ride the other attractions.

The memory is one of several Doug has that illustrates his father's love for trains: Ken grew up in Sterley, Texas, where he spent years of his childhood following his own father around the railroad depot, learning to oil and maintain the steam engines.

Though Ken never became a railroad engineer, his mechanical acumen from working with trains as a child and teen was obvious throughout his life, Doug said.

"That built up who he was, especially in his career," Doug said.

Remembrance: Ken died at the age of 89 on Christmas Eve this past year after a long bout with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Doug said. Now, his family will remember him with a train ride together on the Steam into History train Saturday before they lay his ashes to rest at Doug's Glen Rock home.

Doug and his siblings were able to say goodbye to their father before he died in his Florida home. But there was one loose end left in Ken's will, that asked his family to dispose of his ashes "with dignity," Doug said.

After thinking about what that could include, the family decided to bury the ashes at Doug's home, which borders the York County Heritage Rail Trail.

Train stop: The Steam into History train, which typically gives tours about York County's role in the Civil War, will make a unique stop at Doug's home Saturday. They'll ride the train to Hanover Junction and return to Glen Rock after about an hour, where the train will stop and allow the family to debark.

About 19 family members will participate on the ride, including Doug and his four brothers and sister and several grandchildren.

Doug said the plan is to bury the ashes on his property near the trail and railroad tracks, at which point the family will sing a song and the train will sound its whistle in honor of Ken.

The span between Ken's death and his family remembrance of his life gave the family time to plan a memorial service in Maryland, where Ken lived before moving to Florida, and to figure out the best way to honor their father through the train ride. After the ceremony, the family will also remember their late mother, Lorraine Claborn, who died in 2011.

"It gave us some breathing room until we could all get back together and have one final remembrance of dad and of mom," Doug said.

The weekend is also fitting for another reason, as Ken's 90th birthday would have been Monday, June 30. As part of the celebration of his life, Doug said the family will also have a steamed crab feast Saturday, one of Ken's favorite meals.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.