AKRON, N.Y. — A school bus driver here who had driven for 66 years— while battling cancer for the last four — and was beloved by the community was laid to rest last week, WGRZ reports.

Phillip James Nice started driving school buses in the Akron-Newstead area in 1949 and did not stop until two days before his death on Nov. 21 at age 84, according to the news source. Some sources said that over the course of his career, Nice drove 1 million miles transporting several generations of students, WGRZ reports. Many of those students are now grandparents and attended his funeral.

Fellow school bus driver Mark Schmigel drove Nice’s bus during the funeral procession, according to the news source. During the procession, the cortege passed the school, where a current generation of students had gathered to pay tribute to Nice. Schmigel, who had substituted for Nice on the rare occasions when he took a day off for chemotherapy treatment, told WGRZ that Nice “was a kid at heart” and that “those kids really loved him.”

Fellow bus drivers petitioned the Akron Central School District to take Nice’s bus out of service and “retire” it for the rest of the school year, according to the news source.

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