Family uses carriage step as grave marker

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Our Sandstone Heritage:

Photos by Tom Rivers – Ron Ayrault, left, and his cousin Jerry LeFrois are pictured by the grave of Charles J. LeFrois and Doris LeFrois in Boxwood Cemetery. Jerry LeFrois used his grandfather’s carriage step as the grave marker for his parents.

MEDINA – When his parents died in 2005, Jerry LeFrois contemplated how to honor his parents – Charles J. and Doris LeFrois – with their grave stone.

Jerry picked an unusual marker: a carriage step that had been in the family for three generations. The step bears the name of his grandfather, Philip LeFrois. He was a French immigrant who lived in Eagle Harbor. He was a fruit farmer who was in the apple-drying business.

He also was friends with a quarryman who made the carriage step, which includes a step carved into the stone, as well as the name “P. LeFrois.”

A quarryman carved a step into the stone.

When the LeFrois homestead burned in the 1930s, the family moved to Albion. One of Philip’s son, Harry LeFrois, would move the carriage step to Murray and place it by Ridge Road.

After Harry died, his brother Charles J. LeFrois moved it to his home along Portage Road in Medina. He died on July 7, 2005. His wife died later that December.

Their son Jerry, an Albion graduate who now lives in Tacoma, Wash., had Bridgen Memorial move the stone to Boxwood Cemetery, but not before both names of his parents were inscribed in the stone.

Jerry LeFrois looks over the carriage step that has been in his family for about a century.

LeFrois is working to reclaim another artifact for his family. The hitching post that used to stand next to the carriage step remains in Eagle Harbor. LeFrois has reached out to the owner of the property, Kevin and Joanie Kent. They have agreed to let the family have the hitching post back. It will be moved to Murray, where LeFrois’s cousin Steve Babcock will give it prominent placement in his yard on Phillips Road.

“We’re keeping it in the family,” LeFrois said. “I think my dad is up there smiling.”

Editor’s Note: LeFrois reached out to me to tell the story of the carriage step because he knows I like hitching posts and these old steps. They are personal connections to people who helped build our towns and villages from a century ago.

I’ve noticed many of the carriage steps have sunk into the earth over the years. The names on the steps are obscured. I’m working on a plan to have the sunken steps reset. I’d also like to see some of the steps that have been moved behind houses brought back out in front. We first need an inventory of the steps that need to be raised and relocated. Anyone with information or interest in the project is welcome to send me a note at