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‘Massive Heart Attack’ Claims Life of NAPT President

The school bus industry awoke Saturday to the startling news that industry veteran, mentor and current National Association for Pupil Transportation President Don Carnahan died Friday night from what a consultant for the National School Transportation Association referred to in an email as a “massive heart attack.”

NAPT said funeral and memorial service arrangements are being made by the Greenwood Memorial Park Funeral Home in Renton, Washington. He was preceded in death several years ago by wife Sharon.

An NAPT Hall of Fame inducteed in 2006, Carnahan holds the distinction of serving as both president of NAPT and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. He was chair of the 11th National Congress of School Transportation in 1990 and also co-founded the NAPT Foundation with fellow Hall of Famer Ed Donn.

A message left with NAPT over the weekend seeking comment on Carnahan’s passing was not returned at this initial report. But on Monday Mike Martin, NAPT’s executive director, released the following statement to members:

“I write with great sadness and tremendous regret to inform you that NAPT President Don Carnahan died suddenly last Friday, October 3. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones and ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Everyone Don knew in pupil transportation, especially his friends and colleagues in NAPT, is grieving with his family. Many thanks to everyone for your kind words and remembrances.

Don was one of those rare people that in many ways was larger than life itself. May he now rest in peace.”

Keith Henry, the director of transportation for Lee’s Summit School District near Kansas City, was elected last year to be Carnahan’s successor as NAPT president starting next fall.

Carnahan was also a vice president of business development for Zonar Systems up until his death and was a retired director of pupil transportation for Washington state. Prior to that, he was an employee of school bus contractor Laidlaw, which was purchased by First Student in 2008. Carnahan had already left Laidlaw in 2001, shortly after the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In October 2010, STN awarded Carnahan with the magazine’s annual leadership award. Read more about Carnahan in a feature article from the January 2011 edition of School Transportation News magazine as well as in the upcoming November edition.

 

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