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PUT IT IN PARK

Morris Janssen retires after 60 years of driving school bus for Ely students

Keith Vandervort
Posted 4/17/19

ELY – An Ely school bus driver put his vehicle in park for the last time this spring, ending a career that spanned six full decades. Morris Janssen was honored at a reception last week for his time …

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PUT IT IN PARK

Morris Janssen retires after 60 years of driving school bus for Ely students

Posted

ELY – An Ely school bus driver put his vehicle in park for the last time this spring, ending a career that spanned six full decades. Morris Janssen was honored at a reception last week for his time behind the wheel transporting Ely students to and from school.

School and transportation union officials, along with dozens of supporters and many current and former students, gathered for a reception in the cafeteria after school last Thursday.

Addyson Rivera, age 7, ran up to Morris and gave him a big hug. “Isn’t this wonderful,” Morris said softly as he grinned from ear to ear.

“I’m going to miss you so much,” Addyson said.

Generations of Ely students rode on Janssen’s school bus along the Grant McMahan Road route. His wife, Naomi, also drove a school bus up the Echo Trail route during the same time. They both retired in 1999 after 40 years of safely transporting students back and forth, but Morris decided he missed it too much.

After a year’s hiatus, Morris got back in the driver’s seat and recently completed another 20-year stint behind the wheel. And retirement, even now, wasn’t by choice. He recently suffered a broken hip, the result of a fall at his Boundary Street home.

“I imagine I would still be driving if I didn’t break my hip,” he said.

Morris is often known as “The Rev” around town, having served as the minister of the Gospel Tabernacle church from 1955 to 1999. “At first, I had to stay up all night and keep the wood stove going for church the next morning,” he said. The number of members at the church when he started could all fit in his car, he said. When he retired, there were well over 200 parishioners.

Morris didn’t have much to say about his career behind the wheel. “I really enjoyed seeing all the kids,” he said.

They got home safely with Morris behind the wheel.

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