A goodbye to David A.

a man sits on a front porch with mining memorobilia

David A. Lucas of Hegins, PA died on June 8th, 2019 at age 67, from injuries sustained in a car crash which also killed his wife LaRae. David was a self-made local celebrity in the coal region, championing the independent small-scale Anthracite miners, of whom only a proud few remain.

His yard is a homegrown museum of anthracite mining culture as well as his personal soapbox with custom yard signs loudly proclaiming his political beliefs— while not aligned with my own, I can’t help but feel a deep respect for everything he had to say.

After retiring from his family-owned D&D Anthracite Mine, he sold soup out of his home to make ends meet and to raise funds for the Hegins community. He organized the annual Independent Coal Miner’s Picnic— I’d been hoping to attend for the past few years but life always got in the way. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet him one day in the summer of 2017– after seeing him sitting on his front porch from the car on several different trips I finally gathered the courage to stop and ask if I could take his photograph. The film was damaged by a light leak, and I never did anything with the images until I heard about the accident, but I dug the negatives out of my archive and did some photoshop work because I think it’s important to share.

The Shingara Cross on nearby Trevorton Mountain was lit up in his honor. The Shingaras are another well-known local family of independent miners, who have long carried on the tradition of lighting the giant cross— located at the edge of the “zero vein” of anthracite coal— whenever a local miner dies.