WELL-known farmer Thomas Lodge died just days before his 90th birthday.
Mr Lodge worked at his family’s farm in Denby Dale for more than 50 years.
And, fittingly, the hearse for his funeral service later this week will be drawn by two black Shire horses – a breed he grew to love.
Mr Lodge bred and showed Shires for most of his life and was acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost experts.
He won countless awards at country shows all over the region and was officially honoured by the Shire Horse Society in 1996 for his work over 60 years.
Mr Lodge, who had been living in Scammonden, was born at Toby Wood Farm in Denby Dale.
The farm, owned by his parents Joseph and Hilda, has another claim to fame. It is where the only famous Denby Dale pie that went ‘bad’ has been buried.
Mr Lodge attended Denby Dale Primary School but left at 14 to work on the farm.
He later studied farming at the former Huddersfield Technical College.
His daughter, Joan Wood, said: “He loved the farming life, raising beef and sheep as well as crops, but there is no doubt the Shire horses were his great love.
“He was brought up with the horses working on the farm, but then from the age of 40 began breeding and showing them.
“He was well-known at shows all over the area – including Honley and Emley – and was later much sought-after as a judge.”
Mr Lodge was married to Lois for 51 years but was widowed nine years ago.
The couple had three daughters – Joan, Anne and Helen – and two grandchildren, Catherine and Mark.
Mr Lodge also leaves three great grandchildren Matthew, William and Reggie.
His funeral service is at Huddersfield Crematorium on Thursday at 1pm.