Larry Pierce, who ran school transportation provider Pierce Coach Line for more than 60 years and was an integral member of industry associations, passed away on Thursday.

Pierce was a longtime member of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) and the New York School Bus Contractors Association, and he served as president of both groups. He was instrumental in launching New York’s first school bus safety competition in 1972.

To some contractors, Pierce was known as “The Senior Authority” because of his decades of experience in the industry. He was handed the reins of Roslyn, N.Y-based Pierce Coach Line by his father in the 1940s, around the end of World War II.

In 2008, SCHOOL BUS FLEET named Pierce its Contractor of the Year.

His son Troy told SBF at the time that one aspect of the company that his father was particularly proud of was that it has been a stepping stone for many people who have achieved considerable success in their careers. Several former Pierce Coach employees have gone on to start their own companies, including Bob Brown of Brown Coach.

NSTA said in an announcement to members on Friday that the association sends its "deepest condolences to Larry’s wife, Fran, and their entire family as they remember his life, his love of school transportation and his many contributions to the entire industry."

To read SBF's Contractor of the Year profile of Pierce, click here.