Across the generations
From left, Bob Charlebois, Maureen Delaney, Paul Blanchard, Gerry Delaney, Dennis Delaney, Patricia Delaney, Janet Delaney, Diana Delaney, Cara-Lynn Janzen and partner Matt Delaney, Xavier Legault with mother Christie Delaney and husband Gilles Legault with daughter Audrey Legault. Courtesy photo
Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
AVONMORE – Pictures from across the generations were displayed at the entrance of the hall at the Avonmore Community Centre on Sun., Sept. 9. The story of Delaney Bus Lines Ltd. was laid out for guests to see. What started with school drop-offs during a milk run, flourished into 70 years serving eastern Ontario as a premier bus line.
News broke in late July that Delaney Bus Lines Ltd. would be closing shop after selling their school fleet to Roxborough Bus Lines and their charters to 417 Bus Lines. It was time, the family decided to move on to new ventures and Janet Delaney, the driving force behind the company after her husband Michael’s passing in 2010, was ready to retire.
To say goodbye to the employees, friends and community after such a long history, the family held a farewell barbecue. Good food, drinks and conversation were on the docket for the day. Many who attended were retired drivers and employees getting a chance to reconnect. The late Michael Delaney was ever present with kind words of those reminiscing of days gone by. A respected leader of his company, stories rang out of his dedication to his employees and machinery. “Don’t ask someone to do something unless you are willing to do it yourself. That was Mike,” said one long-time friend.
Heartfelt thank yous and stories were heard from Janet and her three children, Matthew, Diana and Christie. To the school bus drivers, Janet expressed her sincerest admiration for their work, driving in Canadian weather to get the children around safely. “It takes a lot of courage to drive in that weather,” she said. To the coach drivers, she gave her thanks for their work driving clients from coast-to-coast and always treating them like family. “My late husband, Michael would have been so proud,” she added.
For the children of Michael and Janet, growing up on a bus farm was an experience unto itself. Each took their right of passage working in the yard, office and on the buses, cleaning and washing, during their youths. While the scraping of gum or sweeping up left behind products was not always the most glamorous of jobs, each found valuable lessons and good friends through the work.
The hard work from everyone involved was recognized during the farewell as contributing to Delaney’s 70 years as a family company. That dedication, the family noted, will never be forgotten. Despite the farewells said, it was a happy occasion and time to celebrate for the attendees. “Today we celebrate the bus line and the time we have all spent in each other’s lives,” said Matthew. “We wish you nothing but safe roads ahead.”