The custom casket features several special details including the number 3 stamped on its side as a nod to the first bus he ever drove.
For the residents of Grand Meadow, Minnesota, it's the end of an era. The small town recently lost its iconic longtime bus driver, Glen Davis, who drove generations of students to and from school. Davis, who served as a school bus driver for Grand Meadow public schools for 55 years, passed away at the age of 88 on February 15. Lovingly known as Glennie by the thousands of schoolchildren he transported, the local icon is set to get a fitting farewell on Friday when he will be laid to rest in a school-bus yellow casket. The custom casket features several special details including the number 3 stamped on its side as a nod to the first bus Davis ever drove.
According to CNN, Davis was a school bus driver from 1949 to 2005 and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Residents of his small town of 1,170 trusted him with their children for over five decades and he was proud that he's never once gotten in an accident. He also worked as a farmer on the side and could be found milking cows after completing his morning route. Although his death has left the entire town devastated, Davis has had his funeral planned since 2015.
Glen Davis drove Minnesota children to and from school from 1949 to 2005. Now, he'll be laid to rest in a casket that looks just like the first school bus he ever drovehttps://t.co/ytpKiQOlZO— CNN (@CNN) February 19, 2020
Davis, who began driving school buses at the age of 17 and logged over 800,000 miles in five vehicles throughout his career, wanted to memorialize his love for the job. A conversation with his son-in-law Steve Durst planted the idea of a school bus-themed casket in his mind and Davis knew that's exactly how he wanted to be laid to rest. According to the Post Bulletin, from the time Durst, who was the owner of a graphic design business, told his father-in-law about a picture he had seen in a design magazine of a school bus casket, the longtime bus driver was smitten. "It never left his mind," said Durst's wife, Dawn.
Jim Hindt, the owner of a local funeral home and a family friend, provided a casket for Durst to work on and when the idea of wrapping the casket didn't work out, he secretly began working on the project himself. Hindt painted the casket in the signature yellow of school buses and added a few details like a red stop sign on the side, black hardware finishes, replicas of safety lights, and a "03" emblazoned in black paint. When he surprised Davis with the final product, he was overwhelmed.
"Oh, I loved it. My family was a little leery of it, it being a little bit personal," Davis said five years ago, speaking of the moment he first laid eyes on the custom casket. "He just enjoyed the kids and driving the bus so much," his daughter Lisa Hodge revealed, adding that whenever she and her dad were with people, he would ask her to pull up the photo on her phone to show others "because he was so proud of it."
Longtime MN school bus driver to be buried in custom school bus casket https://t.co/AUBaUjqO3W pic.twitter.com/kLh1K1SUjF— Pioneer Press (@PioneerPress) February 19, 2020
Although the family was a bit uncertain about the whole thing at first, Hodge revealed that they were eventually won over by her dad's overwhelmingly positive response. "He (drove) bus for all those years. I bet he's driven three generations in some families. My dad says all it is missing is an emergency exit door," she said. The gift was also an expression of gratitude from Hindt as he felt forever indebted to Davis for the love and support he showered upon his family when daughter, Madison, was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months. Hindt's daughter grew up, cancer-free and is now a healthy 12-year-old but he could never forget the manner in which Davis came to his support. We were going through a hard time. Both him and his family were just very good to us," he said. "I wanted to repay it somehow."