Final stop: Longtime Minnesota school bus driver will be buried in school bus casket

After driving a school bus for 55 years, a Minnesota man’s final stop will be celebrated in a bus-themed casket.

Glen Davis, who drove a school bus in Grand Meadow from 1949 to 2005, will be buried in a casket painted to look like the bus he drove for so many years, the Brainerd Dispatch reported. Davis, who was 88, died Saturday, according to his obituary.

The yellow casket will be decorated with headlights, a side-mounted stop sign and block capital letters that memorialize the bus Davis drove -- "Grand Meadow Schools — ISD #495," the Star-Tribune reported.

The casket was donated by Jim Hindt, owner of Hindt Funeral Home.

Known to several generations of students as "Glennie," Davis began driving a school bus when he was 18, the year he graduated high school, according to the Dispatch. In 1949, many of his passengers were friends and former classmates. By the time he retired, Davis was driving grandchildren of his former classmates, the newspaper reported.

Davis is not the first school bus driver to be buried in a bus-like casket. As recently as August 2019, a Tennessee man who drove a bus in Wilson County for more than five decades was laid to rest in a bus-themed casket.

Davis knew he would be getting his casket, as Hindt surprised him with the idea six years ago, the Star-Tribune reported. Hindt asked a family friend to paint the casket and a niece to put the finishing touches to it, the newspaper reported.

"Glen had always just joked with me about wanting to be buried in a casket that looked like a school bus," Hindt told the Star-Tribune. "We just kind of put it together out of friendship for him. I wasn't sure whether Glen really wanted to use it."

“Oh, I loved it,” Davis said in a Jan. 31, 2015, Rochester Post Bulletin interview. “My family was a little leery of it, it being a little bit personal."

"He was speechless," Davis' daughter, Lisa Hodge of Rochester, told the Star-Tribune. "He was just overjoyed, and he couldn't believe somebody was actually able to do it for him."

Davis was a farmer for most of his life, the eighth of nine children born at the family homestead in Grand Meadow. He drove the bus in the morning and then milked cows when he returned home, the Dispatch reported.

“He just enjoyed the kids and driving the bus so much,” Hodge told the newspaper.

Davis’ funeral is 10:30 a.m. Friday in Grand Meadow. While it will be a sad time, the mood will be lightened somewhat by Davis’ custom-made casket.

"He really got a kick out of it," Hodge told the Star-Tribune. "It's what he loved about life."

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