Mayes, who turned 65 on Saturday, worked as a school bus driver for the company for seven years before being appointed general manager in 1986. In her role, Mayes oversaw the student transportation services for Hutchinson Unified School District 308.
“Marilee is the type of person who stays committed to her responsibilities and serves the community with all her heart,” Durham Region Manager Kevin Rhine said. “She knows Hutchinson school transportation like no one ever has. The community is a better place because of Marilee.”
Although she has retired as a general manager for Durham, Mayes is not leaving the pupil transportation community completely. She now serves the Hutchinson school system as a substitute school bus driver.
“It will be kind of strange, but I’m looking forward to it,” Mayes said about her transition. “Anyone who’s been a general manager knows it’s a lot of hours and a lot of hard work, so it will be nice to relax a little and spend time with family.”
Mayes also noted that the people she’s worked with and served have made her job special.
“I’ve met so many great people,” she said, “from parents, to the people at the schools, to the employees here operating the bus service. They have all been so friendly, patient and understanding, while being great examples for me. I love what I do and enjoy being part of the community.”
Mayes and her husband, George, who works as the Hutchinson facility’s lead bus mechanic, have three children and 10 grandchildren, who all live in town. Their 40th wedding anniversary is in March, and their 11th grandchild is expected in September.
When her family isn’t keeping her busy, Mayes enjoys reading, music, and working on her house and in the yard.
“I earned my degree in music education at Wichita State University, so I’ve always enjoyed music,” she said. “I’ve been a bassoonist in the Hutchinson Symphony off and on for three decades, so I may do more there.”
Durham’s new general manager in Hutchinson is Don Weigel, who joined the team on Feb. 18 after many years as a local businessman.
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