Dozens stand outside a Waverly funeral during the COVID-19 mandated crowd limits
Social distancing couldn't keep a local community from expressing their condolences to a Waverly family.
Social distancing couldn’t keep a local community from expressing their condolences to a Waverly family.
Rain, fog, and COVID-19 couldn’t stop people from paying their respects to a beloved bus driver on Saturday morning.
“This is very surreal,” says Terese Brown, a a Waverly teacher. “The coronavirus has definitely affected our community in a large way.”
Teachers, students, and friends lined 148th street with signs to celebrate the life of Carleen Dowding, who died of natural causes.
“Carleen was a very important part of our school system,” adds Brown. “She’s one that lined up all the field trips. She had the buses ready whenever we needed to go somewhere and she always had a smile on her face. She loved our kiddos very much and they loved her as well.”
Because of coronavirus quarantines and a crowd limit of 10 people, only family was allowed at the funeral. Live streaming was available on the Roper and Sons website.
“We’re standing out here today just to make sure we did show our respects cause with everything going on you know we can’t physically be there,” says Haleigh Benson, a former bus rider and Waverly graduate. “I think I can speak for most of the community that we would love to be there with her and her family.”
Dowding worked 50 years as a bus driver and then transportation director for School District #145.
She left her footprint on her community as a loving, outgoing personality, attending church, school events, many fairs, and livestock shows.
“She was more than a bus driver,” says Benson. “She came to everything, every home sporting event that she could, she was at. She made it a point to talk to you. She remembered who you were and she really knew almost everybody. So, she made it a point to talk to you or say hi or just give you a hug.”
“This week around town several of the houses drew pictures of the school buses and hung them on their fences or their doors and had a candle outside,” adds Brown. “A lot in town did that just to show their support and love for her.”