CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — After nearly six decades of helping students cross a busy road in Camden County, a beloved crossing guard has retired. But it doesn’t mean she’s slowing down any time soon.
Arriving by limo to a big round of applause, Claire Bauman greeted students, staff and family outside Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill on Monday.
It was a break from her usual job as the school crossing guard, which she’s been doing every day since 1965.
“It’s just awesome,” Bauman said. “They’ve done so many things for me here. It’s such a great school.”
The “Queen of Walt Whitman Boulevard,” as she’s known, says her love of children is what kept her coming back to work for decades.
“I loved the kids,” she said. “They’re foremost in my mind, getting them safely across the street. … Kids used to go home for lunch. That stopped quite a few years ago. I crossed them three times a day then, now we’re down to two.”
Bauman’s family points out she rarely missed a day of work.
“I call her the energizer bunny rabbit. She’s constantly moving,” daughter-in-law Pat Bauman said. “She does more than me and I’m planning on retiring in November and I said, ‘Mom, you have to retire before I do because if you don’t, I can’t retire.’”
“She just dials it down like it’s nothing, which it’s a big deal,” Emily Logan, Bauman’s granddaughter, said. “I’m like you kind of give me a little bit of a worry that I have to work until I’m 94.”
Last week, the school threw a parade for Bauman’s retirement, and the celebration continued with Monday’s farewell.
One of Bauman’s first students picked her up in the limo.
“Glad to be a part of it, to tell you the truth,” Steve Linbill said. “It’s 53 years I’ve known the lady. Great lady.”
Bauman’s dedication to the school and her job will be remembered with this brick path. It’s engraved with her name and was made in her honor after her first 25 years on the job.
“I hope that the person that takes my place likes it as much as I did,” Bauman said. “I loved this school, loved everybody in it. It’s been a good 57 years.”
Bauman’s official last day of work is Wednesday, which is also the last day of school. She plans to sleep in later, but she also says she’ll keep herself busy as she’s not one to relax.