School Bus Driver Retires After 20 Years
Robert Hennen worked his last day for the city yesterday.
Longtime Edina Public School District bus driver Robert Hennen worked his final day on Wednesday, June 6, retiring after twenty years of service. Hennen said he is looking forward to fishing, working on his home, and taking his R.V. to visit polka festivals throughout the Midwest with his wife during retirement.
“Today was my last day and it should have been a happy day but it was kind of sad,” he said. “I might never see these kids again.”
Born and raised in Shakopee, Minnesota, Hennen lived on his parents’ farm until he was twenty-one, when he enlisted in the United States Army. After being trained as a refrigerator technician he was deployed to France for two years towards the end of the Korean War, repairing refrigerators for the military. After returning to the United States, Hennen took a position with a Ford Motor Company plant in St. Paul, working there for the next 35 years.
After retiring from Ford and spending a year enjoying what would become only his first retirement, in 1992 Hennen saw an ad for a part-time bus driver in Edina and decided to apply. He was hired on the spot.
“I thought (I’d work) maybe five or six years, but it’s been twenty,” he said. “It was a great experience."
Picking children up throughout the country club district during his second career, Hennen came to know numerous families well enough to see their children move from pre-K through middle school. After driving more than fifty miles per day on three separate routes for twenty years, Hennen said he often felt like a part of the family to some kids. On his final day numerous parents—mothers mostly, he noted—stopped to thank him for his years of service with parting gifts and, in several instances, hugs.
“I worked for a very good school district,” he said. “Everyone treats you great—the parents, management. A lot of people think a bus driver is just a bus driver, but there's more to it than that.”
Hennen and his wife live in Edina and have immediate plans to visit several of their three children and two grandchildren in Arizona next week; beyond that, he hasn’t staked any specific claims on the future.
“I worked 55 years, so I’m gonna take it a little easy now,” he said.