A farm accident shortly after noon on Sunday has claimed the life of a longtime Mahoning Township farmer.

Ronald L. "Butch" Blocker, 71, of 601 Grist Mill Rd., Lehighton, died when a large farm truck apparently slipped out of gear and ran over him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Carbon County Chief Deputy Coroner James Hauser.

He was the husband of Dawn L. (DeReamer) Blocker, who was a former township supervisor and township secretary/treasurer for more than 25 years, retiring in 2009. They were married for 37 years.

Chief of Police Kenneth J. Barnes of Mahoning Township said a relative was helping Blocker work on the truck at the time the accident occurred.

After the accident, that relative was transported to a hospital, suffering from shock, said police.

Police Officers Daniel Long and Chris Ritter are investigating.

Police said they received the dispatch at 12:22 p.m. Initially the report was that a farm tractor rolled onto a male.

Upon reaching the scene, they discovered that it was a farm truck which struck Blocker. He was beneath the truck when police and other emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Police said that according to their investigation, Blocker had returned home from church, then went to the field to help the son-in-law.

The truck appeared to be having a transmission problem, police said. The son-in-law was in the truck and Blocker reportedly crawled under it "to knock on the transmission to get it in gear." It was then that Blocker was struck.

Police said the investigation determined that Blocker died from "being crushed by the truck."

The Mahoning Valley Fire Department, Mahoning Valley Ambulance, Lehighton paramedics, and Mahoning Township fire police responded to the scene.

Barnes said, "The deceased, Ronald 'Butch' Blocker, had been part of the extended Mahoning Township family, as his widow Dawn Blocker had been the Mahoning Township secretary/treasurer and a board of supervisors' member for over 25 years."

He added, "This is a very sad and tragic event for the Blocker family and on behalf of myself and members of the police department, our thoughts and prayers are with the Blocker family."

His obituary states that Blocker's "lifelong love was farming."

The complete obituary appears on page 4.