Owen Neighbours - Retiree Tributes - McDonogh School

Owen Neighbours

Before I begin to tell you about our next retiree, Owen Neighbours, I have a riddle for you.

Q. What do you call a bus-driving geologist?
A.  A rock and roller!

While you may think that a bus-driving geologist is a made-up character from a children’s book, I can assure you that Owen is very real. “Mr. Owen,” as he is known to the children who rode his bus, graduated from McDonogh in 1963. He became a professional mining geologist and spent many years advising companies about whether or not their sand, gravel, or hard rock deposits were worth mining.

In 2009, his path led him back to McDonogh School where his wife Terri Neighbours worked in the Business Office. He already knew how to drive a quarry haul truck, so he thought, “Why don’t I become a school bus driver and transport students instead?” Owen did indeed learn to drive a school bus, and he has been on the road ever since.

Owen drove four different bus routes for McDonogh, safely picking up and dropping off hundreds of students. During the day, he checked all 27 buses and every other McDonogh-owned vehicle to see that each one was properly fueled. By late afternoon, he made sure that every bus was in its assigned place on the bus lot. If not, he moved it. Owen helped to ensure that all Lower School students were in their assigned places as well. Every afternoon, he delivered to each driver a list of all lower schoolers expected to ride that day.

Owen also drove what is known as the “town route,” taking a McDonogh van all over town, doing errands that are essential to the smooth operation of the school. The post office and the bank were among his daily stops. At many businesses, Owen became the public face of McDonogh School.

Thank you, Owen, for the many miles driven and the dozens of duties carried out on behalf of our school. We think you rock.