School bus parade salutes long-time South Mountain bus driver as she convalesces with cancer

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

NORTH DUNDAS — Deb Marriner of South Mountain watched as colleagues and other supporters paraded by her place on a chilly morning last week, led by a contingent of First Student (formerly Wubs Transit) school buses.

A longtime driver with the firm, Marriner bowed out last September while dealing with a cancer diagnosis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sitting in the passenger seat of a pickup truck at the end of her driveway, the honouree gratefully accepted flowers from her colleagues who briefly emerged from their buses during the Feb. 12 convoy along County Rd. 3.

Transport trucks with JED Express likewise took part in the vehicular salute to Marriner, well known in the community for her years working at the former Scotiabank branch in the village as well.

Her son, Kyle, said she began driving school buses many years ago, before a 35-year career at the bank, then got back behind the wheel in retirement. “It’s nice to see everybody. It’s nice to see everybody drive by,” said the resident of Fort McMurray, Alta. “This is the first time we’ve been back home [in South Mountain] in forever,” he said, also describing the procession in his mother’s honour as “such a great idea.”

Deb Marriner speaks to former colleagues from inside a pickup truck. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News


The procession of buses, trucks and private vehicles makes its way eastward on County Rd. 3. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

NVN streamed the event on Facebook shortly after it occurred — eliciting many supportive comments as the video racked up more than 7,000 views and reached more than 10,000 people.

Mackenzie Lynne recalled that Marriner “was my bus driver for many years and always made us feel special! Calling us ‘one of her kids’ to this day! We love ya Deb! A truly incredible woman!”

“We loved having Deb as our driver and miss her but we are happy that she has chosen to take care of herself. This is a beautiful tribute to her,” April Leathem commented.

“That’s such a great tribute. Keep fighting the good fight Debbie! Wow..if Debbie wasn’t in tears…I was!” wrote Lisa Warren Beckstead.

“Wow that’s amazing, what a special moment for my mother-in-law; she is loved so much from friends and family,” observed Joan Marriner.



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