Advertisement

Beloved Sussex-area bus driver remembered by friends and former colleagues

Beloved bus driver, community member mourned in Sussex, N.B.
A long-time bus driver in the Sussex area is being remembered as a beloved community member who will never be forgotten after passing away from pneumonia. As Callum Smith explains, she made quite an impact on those around her.

A former New Brunswick bus driver is being remembered as a role model who left a lasting impact on her family and former colleagues.

Susan Walsh drove students to and from school in the Sussex region for 36 years. She was diagnosed with “aggressive pneumonia” in early March and passed away Thursday at the age of 65.

“She just couldn’t beat it off. It made her lungs totally collapse,” says her son, John Walsh. “She was on life support for seven-and-a-half weeks.”

Her colleagues led a convoy of about 25 buses on Monday in her honour.

“Children that might have got in trouble in school … she just had such a way to talk to the students, to encourage them to do well in school and in life,” recalls Sherry Hawkes, a friend and fellow bus driver. “And to make good choices.”

Story continues below advertisement
A bus convoy of about 25 drivers from the Anglophone South School District drove through the Sussex region Monday to pay tribute to their former colleague
A bus convoy of about 25 drivers from the Anglophone South School District drove through the Sussex region Monday to pay tribute to their former colleague. Submitted: Pamela Nelson

“She was all about family; family and friends, that was my mom every day,” says John. “She loved her family, she loved the kids on the bus like they were family.”

Susan’s passing is yet another tragedy in the Walsh family. There have been three deaths in the family in the past eight-and-a-half years.

John says he will get through with support from his one remaining brother and their family’s support.

“I had a brother that died in a tractor trailer accident in Nova Scotia. Five weeks later, my dad passed away,” he says. “His kidneys failed and he was diabetic, and I can’t remember everything else, and then I had a brother (that) died of cancer in 2014.”

John Walsh, Susan’s son, says his mother always brightened students’ days on the bus
John Walsh, Susan’s son, says his mother always brightened students’ days on the bus. Callum Smith / Global News

Students and staff at Apohaqui Elementary School delivered a card to John while Susan was in hospital, sharing their support and well-wishes.

Story continues below advertisement

“She’s driven generations of kids in this community, their parents, their parents, and now their children,” says Lisa Lisson, who drove Walsh’s bus during the convoy.

“She was pretty proud to be a bus driver in this area for this many years.”