Bus driver attended to passengers' needs

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

As a Port Authority bus driver, Bernie Hollinger was best remembered as a man who went out of his way to accommodate his passengers.

Working out of the Ross and Harmar garage for 27 years, Mr. Hollinger had the patience and compassion to attend to the need of his riders, especially those who were handicapped or elderly.

“Bernie was so loved and admired that a group of women who rode the Harmar line upon hearing that he was about to retire, begged him to reconsider,” said his wife, Nancy Ferguson Hollinger.

Bernard V. Hollinger of West Deer, died of cancer on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in his home. He was 62.

“I was working in the Rust Engineer offices on Smithfield Street in Downtown and rode his bus every day,” his wife said. “All the women who rode the bus, like myself, regarded him to be a gentleman. On one occasion, I was grabbed on the bus by a drunk. Bernie stopped the bus in the middle of traffic and warned the man that one more complaint and he was off the bus.

“A while later, I had the opportunity to meet Bernie on a personal basis at a time that we were both available. I had no trouble deciding that he was the man for me, and I've never regretted it.”

Born in the North Side and raised in Shaler, Bernard Hollinger was one of seven children of Robert L. and Margaret Mary Rice Hollinger.

He graduated from Shaler High School in 1968 and began his career with the Port Authority at 23.

“He was a good neighbor, who helped another neighbor operate a snow blower, and they'd go to the home of someone who was sick or elderly and clean their sidewalks,” Nancy Hollinger said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Hollinger is survived by his parents, Robert Sr. and Margaret Mary Hollinger of Shaler; his children, William of West View, Pam Rawlings of Allison Park and Peggy West of Valencia; siblings, Mary Fera of Sharpsburg, Robert Jr. of Plum, Kevin of Cranberry, Teresa Cole of Gibsonia, Florence Grejda of Shaler and Juliana Gondringer of Washington; and seven grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Schellhaas Funeral Home Ltd., 5864 Heckert Road, Bakerstown, where a blessing service will be held after visitation at 8 p.m.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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