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There’s so much more to driving a school bus than tapping the brake and turning the wheel.
A bus driver has to be overly aware of the surroundings outside the bus and pay attention to the rearview mirror above to check on the children. In their hands, bus drivers hold the lives of these children. Safety of the students has to be a top priority.
Becky Lynn Speir Rosso knew this from first-hand experience as a York County school bus driver, and she ran a tight ship.
Mrs. Rosso, of Yorktown, died Aug. 30, 2015, at the age of 61.
Mrs. Rosso married her husband Tony in the 1970s, and he said he never would have pictured her driving a school bus. She held a number of jobs over the years, including working at Ft. Eustis as a clerk. She then focused on raising their two children, Kate and Justin, before going back to work as a floral designer with Seasons of Williamsburg.
Mrs. Rosso decided to move on from floral arrangements after almost 10 years there, Mr. Rosso said. She saw a sign advertising the need for school bus drivers and came home to discuss it with her husband.
“It was a 180 from anything she had done before,” Mr. Rosso said.
Mr. Rosso was hesitant at first. He said his wife was on the shy side, quiet and reserved, and he knew she’d sometimes have to handle difficult situations and rowdy children. He also thought maneuvering the big buses would be a struggle in addition to learning about the mechanical parts. Mr. Rosso thought his wife would see the difficulty of the job first-hand and change her mind.
Mrs. Rosso learned about the challenges she’d face as a bus driver during the six-week course she took to become qualified. Instead of giving up, she showed her determination through studying the large class booklet and learning to identify the parts of the bus. Mrs. Rosso passed the final tests on her first try and started driving as a substitute driver for a while before being given her own routes, Mr. Russo said.
Then, when she put her studies into action and spent time with the students, her husband said she fell in love.
“She had a disposition that was perfect for the job,” Mr. Rosso said. “She really connected with the kids.”
Her first route was driving handicapped children and her last was driving for York Academy. She worked as a bus driver for five years and her husband said she loved every minute of it.
“She took a real interest in them and tried to help them,” he said.
Mr. Rosso said there are many people who don’t understand everything a school bus driver has to learn or focus on during every drive. His wife had to be professional and responsible at all times and needed to focus on both driving and making sure the kids behaved themselves.
His wife tried to deal with issues on the route herself, Mr. Rosso said. Her concern first and foremost was always the safety of the kids and she worried any disruptions or distractions would jeopardize that.
Above all else, one thing is clear to her husband: Mrs. Russo took on the job with incredible passion.
Mr. Rosso was born in Huntington, West Virginia and was a resident of the Peninsula since 1968. She was preceded in death by her parents, John A. and Frances C. Speir and her brother, John A. Speir III.
She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Anthony P. Rosso; daughter, Kate Rosso Tysor; son, Justin P. Rosso; sister, Mary Jane (Nick) Arvon; as well as four nieces and three nephews.
A special thanks to Riverside Regional Medical Center and the occupational and physical therapists at HRSH for their exceptional and compassionate care of our wife and mother.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, at Peninsula Funeral Home. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to www.rescueme.org toward the Jack Russell Terriers (Virginia) fund.
To view the full list of WYDaily obituaries, click here.
Amanda Thames is the obituary writer for WYDaily. Reach her at 757-565-1079 ext. 222 or email@example.com.