“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me: three dead skunks, two rotten eggs and a chicken in a crab apple tree!”
If Leo Stewart’s voice come to mind just now, the reader probably travelled to school on bus 536.
Stewart was like that. He enjoyed a good laugh. He understood early, in what turned out to be 24-year career behind the wheel of a school bus, that children respond to someone who is equal parts silly and respectful.
He knew the name and birthday of every child on his route and he ran a tight ship in terms of appropriate behavior. He also wore his trademark neon pink hat, liberally gave out candy for good behavior and armed his passengers with water guns on the last day of school.
Leo Stewart, 64, of Summerside, died earlier this year. He is remembered as a dedicated school bus driver, firefighter and curler, among other things. – Contributed
His wife, Mary Stewart, and children Tammy and Robert Stewart accepted the award on his behalf in a small event at Elm Street Elementary, Thursday, Nov. 5. Kids from Stewart’s bus were on hand, as well his colleagues at Elm Street and several of his fellow drivers. “It was a beautiful little ceremony,” said Mary.
Her husband loved his job, she said, and for him to get that recognition, especially knowing that some of the children on his route contributed to it, was special.
“He wanted to make (the kids) all feel special. That’s what kept him going, the love he got from them. That just made his day.”
Mary Stewart, centre, accepting her husband’s posthumous award for School Bus Driver of the Year from Cory Thomas, past president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation. With Stewart are her children Robert and Tammy Stewart. – Colin MacLean
In addition to his work as a school bus driver, Stewart was also a long-time volunteer with the Summerside Fire Department, an ice-maker for the Silver Fox Entertainment Complex and an avid and active member of the P.E.I. curling community.