CROWN POINT, N.Y. — A school transportation supervisor here who also drove and repaired the buses in his district's fleet recently passed away.
Tom Fish, transportation supervisor, driver, and mechanic for Crown Point Central School for over 22 years, died suddenly on Oct. 6 as the result of a logging accident, his longtime friend, Walter Cheney, told School Bus Fleet.
“He was such an inspiration to all who knew him, from his positive attitude to his hard work ethic," Cheney, who is the head mechanic for nearby Moriah Central School, said.
Before he came to work for the school district, Fish, 58, was employed as a mechanic for Wicker Ford of Ticonderoga for many years, The Post Star reports.
Shari Brannock, superintendent at Crown Point Central School, said that not only did Fish keep the district's buses rolling, he also greeted each student by name every morning and afternoon.
That one-on-one attention extended to students’ parents and extended families as well.
“If someone called and said [a student is] going to grandma’s house today, he knew who grandma was, and where she lived,” Brannock said.
Fish was also meticulous about the maintenance of his fleet, and often applied his creativity to repair buses and save the district money.
Brannock recalled that to repair a bus that was scheduled for an inspection, he used metal from a broken desk at no cost, instead of spending $2,000 for one metal panel.
“His creativity, ingenuity, and love of his job and the kids, it’s beyond comprehension what he did and for how many,” Brannock said.
Fish’s efforts to keep the fleet running smoothly were not limited to the work week. Every evening and weekend, he made sure that work was done on every vehicle, and he would do anything he could to help others.
“He just nonstop did what they needed done, made everybody happy,” Brannock said. “He never complained. Tom just made the world a better place.”
For now, Caleb Spaulding, the district’s building and ground supervisor and part-time school bus driver, is helping the transportation department service students in Fish’s absence. Spaulding had worked for the New York State Department of Transportation full time and was a substitute bus driver for Fish for a number of years.
Additionally, neighboring school districts Moriah Central School and Ticonderoga Central School District, the town of Crown Point, and the seven bus drivers who work for the Crown Point Central School transportation department have stepped up to keep the buses moving, Brannock said.
“All the drivers are terrific,” she added.
Still, Fish left big shoes to fill.
“Whenever we asked him, could we go here, do this, he’d always say, ‘We’ll make it happen,’” Brannock said. “Tom was always a team player, but he was the one who did make it happen."
A celebration of Fish’s life was held on Oct. 12. At that celebration, Brannock described Fish as a “behind-the-scenes guy” who didn’t seek attention, and had a positive attitude that was contagious.
Fish’s legacy will forever be cherished, she added.
“He greeted everybody every day in the morning and in the afternoon with radio in hand, a smile on his face, and a wave goodbye.”