Olympic bus driver's widow breaks silence

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER - The Olympic Bus Network driver who suffered a fatal heart attack at the wheel near the Port Mann Bridge Feb. 22 was three weeks shy of his 50th wedding anniversary.

“Our (two) kids had a huge anniversary party planned for us,” Dale Roberge’s widow Jeanette told QMI by phone from Minneapolis. “Then they had to send out postcards canceling the anniversary and telling people when the funeral service was going to be.”

Roberge, 71, retired in 2001 from Metro Transit in the Twin Cities. Jeanette was also a driver. They financed an Alaska cruise by driving at Salt Lake 2002. They were hoping to visit Australia after Vancouver 2010.

Jeanette said they were working 12 hour days and had to “pick up the slack” when drivers missed shifts. “They didn’t overwork him,” she said.

Both stayed at a Travelodge in Langley and drove Lonsdale Quay-to-Cypress Mountain runs. Dale switched to shuttling drivers between motels and the bus depot a day before his death.

“That Sunday night he went in, I wasn’t scheduled to go in when he did,” she said. “So, little knowing, I kissed him goodbye and he went off.”

Jeanette flew home the day after Dale’s death but had to wait 10 days for his embalmed body to arrive because of customs red tape. She said 500 people attended the March 5 funeral, including his fellow Shriners and even some Olympic bus drivers.

“He would’ve been in awe of the ceremony. He was a sweet, humble person. Just a darling person,” she said. “You can tell I’m still in love with him.”

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