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The miles are too numerous to count, but the years can be tallied and they number fifty. For half a century Faye Stull has driven a bus for the Mount Ayr Community School District; five decades of pick-up and delivery.
How did it start? “Maurice Carr knocked on my door in 1973,” says Faye, “and asked if I would be a bus driver.” Mr. Carr was Mount Ayr’s Assistant Superintendent and Transportation Director at the time. Faye said yes and the rest is, well, history.
Faye Dillenburg married Bill Stull on June 24, 1967 after which Bill served two tours in Vietnam with the United States Navy. After his service to our country Bill began driving at the Ringgold County Speedway in his stock car. Faye used Bill’s car to race in the Powder Puff Derby at the track and she was quite successful. However, Faye says there is no truth to the rumor she developed her bus driving skills on this track.
Bowling was another activity Faye excelled in. She bowled in a league at Lucky Lanes for over twenty years. Her team won a championship at the state bowling tournament in Dubuque one year. Also, Faye won a couple of titles driving in a school bus rodeo.
Faye recalls a blown engine in her early years of bus driving and there were no radios in the buses at that time. On another occasion, her bus dropped a drive shaft while making her rounds. Mechanical failure happens to everyone but Faye had some encounters with animals that probably don’t happen to many people at all. While taking Raiderettes to Clarinda for an event, a pheasant smashed through the windshield and landed behind the driver’s seat. The bus was unable to continue. On a regular route trip, a pheasant crashed into the windshield and became lodged in the corner of the glass. Faye’s vision remained unimpaired and she finished her route with the extra passenger.
Winter in Iowa also brings difficulties to drivers and on a sports trip, Faye became stranded at the Greenfield High School with the Raider Wrestlers due to an ice storm.
There was a brief time when buses were powered by propane which reduced the range of a bus making for extra work on long sports trips. But, the changes have been many including automatic transmissions, two-way radios, on board cameras, engine block heaters, a new bus barn, improved roads, longer routes, and, of course, rules and regulations. Gone now are the old bus barn, the curbed highways, and manual transmissions.
The students, buses, and routes have all changed but one constant is the fellowship among the drivers and mechanics. Faye will miss that and the kids upon retirement which will come at the end of this school year. Faye realizes she is now transporting the grandchildren of her original passengers. Two things Faye will not miss is getting up at 5:00 a.m. and pheasant hunting.
Bill and Faye’s son Daniel was born September 5, 1984 and they are grandparents now so there will still be children about. And Faye’s guaranteed to encounter some of her former passengers from this time onward. Congratulations, Faye, on being a 50-year bus driver for the Mount Ayr Community Schools.