Columbia County mourns beloved bus driver killed by COVID-19

Published: Nov. 22, 2020 at 12:30 AM EST
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HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Friends, family, co-workers, and students arrived at the VFW Post in Harlem to remember the life of a Columbia County bus driver who passed from complications of COVID-19.

“I was hoping it just wouldn’t happen and he’d get better, but the next I heard he didn’t, and it makes me so sad,” said Tina Hall, whose son rode on his bus. “I know how much we miss him and I can’t look at pictures of him without crying, and thinking, ‘gosh, that’s never going to be here anymore.’ And it’s just unbelievable that such a kind, wonderful person’s left us.”

Family says William “Bill” Rebeck learned he had contracted the virus in late September, and passed away just a month later.

“He was probably the best bus driver you could ever have, and I wish he was still here to this day,” said Hunter Hall, a 6th grade student who used to ride his bus.

They say in his 78 years he had no trouble brightening the lives of his students.

“It didn’t matter who you were, he took in everybody. It didn’t matter, everybody loved my father,” said his son George Rebeck.

They say Bill Rebeck put on a hard fight against the virus just like he did for his country. He was a former veteran, and his family was gifted an honorary flag by the VFW.

And despite all his hard battles, friends say the biggest thing they’ll remember him by is his smile.

“That’s what I remember the most of him was him always smiling to everybody,” said former coworker Patricia Lowe, who used to work with him in Richmond County. “Everybody loved him at the Richmond County Board of Education. We missed him when he left, and we miss him now.”

Family says on or off the bus, he never left a child behind.

“When he opened his door, he opened it fully -- arms wide open, and everyone was invited,” said his granddaughter Alexa Axon.

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