Bus Driver Retires After 50 Years

Posted on November 4, 2014, in Lancer Life

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As the 2014-2015 school year heads into November, many may have noticed a missing face. After 50 years with the District and serving five generations of students, Nolan “Newt” Burdick retired this summer.

“I already miss the kids and the generation of students that I used to haul,” Burdick says. “But, it was just time.”

Newt served as a bus driver at General McLane three years before it even became General McLane School District. When he started, Burdick says the buses were much different – there weren’t alarms or crossing arms, and there were thinner cushions and shorter seats. The appearance itself resembled a cheesebox.

For the avid band fan, Burdick’s fondest memories are the numerous band trips he’s done over the years. He even drove them through the old McKean Parade.

On these trips, he developed some good friendships. According to Burdick, former band instructor John Marszalek teased him not to retire until he did.

“So we went out together,” Burdick says.

Burdick says he will also always remember the trips he took in blizzard or foggy conditions. One time, he says he took a trip to Pittsburgh and on the way back, he couldn’t even see the end of the hood.

Prior to driving, the McKean resident worked as a farmer on a dairy farm. He also served as a tester at the former Weil McLain and a molder at the former Erie Memorial Gardens in McKean. He also proudly served our country in the Korean War.

Burdick has five kids who have all passed through the District and is the proud grandfather of 10, great-grandfather of one.

Now that he is retired, he said he plans to keep busy with his grandkids and great-grand daughter. He also will be cutting the grass at McKean Recreational Park, something he has done for the last 15 years.

General McLane School District Board of Directors, faculty and staff sends best wishes to Newt! We’ll miss you!