After busing 3 generations, driver retires

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A bus driver with nearly 40 years behind the wheel has retired.

Gary Thompson has been a driver for the Suring School District since 1979, when he was hired by John and Norma Brickner, the owners of the bus company who transported students in Mountain. In 1985 he was hired by Lamers Bus Line Inc.

Thompson has been driving bus so long, he has picked up three generations of students from the Mountain area.

For Thompson, his student riders became part of his daily life. He had a student who helped him one year, and he bought the boy cowboy boots as a reward for his help.

He not only picked up students, in one instance he also picked up their animals. He once had a goat named Ju Ju who decided he was getting on the bus and going to school. The goat would not get off the bus, so Thompson took the goat by the horns to steer him off the bus.

Thompson can tell a lot of stories about his many years of driving in Mountain, including stories about the icy and snow-covered roads. He never had an accident in all the years he drove bus.

Thompson missed only one afternoon of work in his 37 years, and that was because of jury duty.

In 2012 Thompson received the Wisconsin School Bus Association’s School Bus Driver of the Year award in Madison.

He intends to spend his retirement with his wife, Doreen, and do as much fishing as possible while watching many beautiful sunsets looking over Anderson Lake at their place at Waters Edge.

“He’s a good man and will be missed by his fellow drivers and students in Mountain,” said Peggy Gordon, terminal manager of Lamers Bus Lines Inc. of Suring/Gillett.

Thompson was honored at a recent safety meeting and was presented with a decorated cake showing a bring yellow school bus.

“I wonder how many lives he’s impacted,” Gordon said.