Herbert C. Wood, Sr., most lovingly known as “Bud,” passed away peacefully at home on April 26, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.

Bud was born in Thomaston Oct. 29, 1920, the son of George Washington and Kathryn (Kirkpatrick) Wood. He grew up on Limerock Street in Rockland and was a lifelong resident of Knox County. He attended school in Rockland and began working at the age of 14 years old in the family store. He also worked in the Wood family taxi business for many years alongside his beloved mother Kathryn. He served in the Army in 1943 and was based at Camp Maxey in Texas. He returned to Rockland and began driving buses. He was married to Lee Dudley Nov. 16, 1952, until Lee’s passing from lupus Feb. 8, 1967.

Bud is most well-known for his years as a school bus driver for SAD 5, eventually assuming the role of transportation director for the district. He is remembered by all for his loving nature, kindness and humor.

Bud retired in 1996 after 50 years of devoted public service, having seen generations of children safely from home to school and back again. He received national exposure when he was featured in Life Magazine as the “Best-Loved Man in Town” in 1962. Bud’s experiences as a bus driver and the dedication he showed to the children of his Owls Head and South Thomaston bus routes also helped shape the character of Riley the bus driver in the children’s book "Here Comes the Bus," in 1963. Upon his retirement, he was honored by President Clinton, Gov. Angus King, and U.S. Sens. Bill Cohen and Olympia Snowe for his half century of devoted service. He also had the honor of being grand marshal of the Lobster Festival Parade after retiring and winning his battle against throat cancer. Also, for many years, while driving school bus, he delivered local newspapers to area business in the wee hours of the morning.

Bud is survived by his sister, Virginia “Gini” Wood Kunesh of Camden and brother, William “Bill” Wood of Rockland; son Richard and wife Kathy of Virginia; son Randy of Warren; daughter, Wendy “Tess” Holt and husband Andy of Tennessee; son Jon and wife Alison of Rockport; son Barry and wife Tracey of South Carolina; and son Herbert C. Wood Jr., of Rockport; eight grandchildren, Lisa, Kami, Kristin, Alex, Kaylee, Emillie, Lilian, and Darcie; and seven great-grandchildren, Ryan, Liam, Paige, Addison, Ashley, Craig, and Mandi.

Bud is predeceased by his parents; his brother, George “Jack” Wood Jr.; and sister, Barbara Howell; as well as his beloved wife, Lee. He is also predeceased by his first wife, Maxine. He is survived by his former wife, Paula Bixby.

A memorial service will be held at Oceanside High School auditorium Saturday, May 11, at 11 a.m. A private family graveside service at the Village Cemetery in South Thomaston will follow the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Lee Dudley Wood may be made directly to the Lupus Research Institute at lupusresearchinstitute.org/donate. Condolences may be made to the Wood family at this site, as well as sent to 89 Old Rockland St., Rockport, ME 04856.