Following 45 years in the student transportation business, Bob Rubin passed away on May 22. He was the sales director for Easy Way Safety Services before retiring in June 2013. He was 81.
A private memorial service was held on May 25.
Easy Way Safety Services hired Rubin in 1969. Shortly thereafter, he and then-owner Chuck Bissinger developed a retrofit kit for school bus seats. In the late 1960s, the modern school bus compliant with several federal motor vehicle safety standards had not yet been developed.
“There were thousands of buses that had nothing but metal fiberglass for seat bottoms,” Rubin said recently. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 222, which mandated padded seats and seatbacks, did not appear until 1977.
Together with Paul Stewart, who at the time was the state transportation director at the West Virginia Department of Education, Rubin developed a safety vest that protected students from being injured by the steel bus seat frames during a sudden stop or a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not prohibit the safety vest but insisted on a disclaimer that the vest was not intended as a seatbelt.
A well-known figure at industry events, Rubin attended nearly every STN EXPO Reno Conference & Trade Show since the inaugural event in 1994, and numerous Transporting Students with Disabilities & Special Needs National Conference in Frisco, Texas. He also attended every National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) annual conference since the inaugural event in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1975, as well as numerous state trade shows.
He was honored in 2006 with the NAPT Distinguished Service Award. NAPT also launched an award named after him in 2014, to recognize “the continuous commitment and support” of association business partners.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) also honored Rubin with a Suppliers Council award.
Rubin was well known for his smile, sunny disposition and ready-to-help attitude. For years he raffled off a large, life-size teddy bear during the conferences he attended.
For many years, Rubin performed volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and served on the board. He also served as president of Temple Shalom.
He is survived by wife Marian Rubin, son Joel (Linda) Rubin and daughter Sara (Brian) Cox, grandchildren Aly Rubin, Abi and Emmi Cox, brother Jerry (Judy) Rubin.
Related: Randy Schetky Remembered for Evolving Family Legacy at Pacific Northwest Dealer
Related: Stewart Remembered for Ushering in the Modern School Bus Era
Related: Webasto Employee Nigro Remembered
Related: Obituary: Bast, Founder of Wisconsin School Bus Contractor Riteway