Beloved CHES bus driver passes the night before 'Appreciation Day'

Jeff Bobo • Sep 27, 2019 at 5:30 PM

CHURCH HILL – Church Hill Elementary School's beloved bus driver Marcus Rehor didn't live to see what his students had in store for him during last week's bus driver appreciation event.

CHES principal Hope Malone told the Times News on Wednesday that Rehor already knew he was loved and appreciated by the school.

Each September, Hawkins County schools hosts a bus driver appreciation event to honor the men and women who get their kids to school and back home safely.

Rehor, who has driven Church Hill's route 21 for the past three years, was scheduled to be honored at CHES last Thursday morning, Sept. 19.

Sadly Rehor passed away unexpectedly the night before.

“He just suddenly died of a massive heart attack,” Malone said. “It was very unexpected and we didn't know he had any heart issues. I'd heard that our bus was running late that morning and one of my (student's) parents called me and said he had passed away.”

“He cared so deeply”

“He was one of the most genuinely kind people that I had ever met,” Malone said. “He cared so deeply about these boys and girls. He would make sure that when he pulled up to a house to let off children, there had to be someone there he knew was going to be able to get those boys and girls. He wouldn't just let them off the bus and leave them. He was always there waiting for whoever it was to come out and get them.”

Rehor also had a great relationship with parents.

“They would talk with him in the afternoon and discuss things with him, and they just adored him,” Malone said. “It was just so heartbreaking for those babies when they found out he wasn't going to be their bus driver any more.”

“If we had known we would have postponed it”

School officials decided to hold the bus driver appreciation event last Thursday morning because they felt Rehor wold have wanted it that way.

Students had their display stating “We (heart) our (bus) drivers” ready and waiting for every bus driver who visited school that day

Malone: “If we had known (about his death) we would have postponed it. But, when I talked to (counselor Nicole) Mrs. Dykes about it and she said, What better way to honor him. What better way during bus driver appreciation. She felt Marcus would have said, What better way to appreciate what I've done for these boys and girls than to continue with it, and honor those other bus drivers who do such an amazing job and get our boys and girls home safe every day.”

Dykes and Malone spoke to students about Rehor's passing, and told students if they needed to talk about it they could come see them any time.

“He knew he was appreciated”

Malone: Sometimes it would be so hot waiting on his bus in the afternoon and he would come in, and he was always just the kindest person. He would sit and talk with us, so he knew how much he was loved. He knew he was appreciated. He didn't need to be told.