She was committed – often working from sunrise until late afternoon, seven days a week. And she was thoughtful – turning strangers who rode her bus into close friends by making conversations effortless. But most of all, she loved the students and faculty of TCU.
For four years, Mrs. Denise Holiday drove the shuttle bus from Lot 4 off W. Cantey Street to the Tom Brown/Pete Wright visitor lot off Bellaire Drive. She gained a reputation for memorizing not only the names of many students and faculty, but also their destination and car location.
Mrs. Holiday died Saturday at the age of 52, sending her regular passengers and co-workers into disbelief and sadness.
Roadrunner Charters, Etc. called Mrs. Holiday one of its “best drivers” and said a funeral service has yet to be scheduled.
Bus driver Max Winnegar alternated the route with Mrs. Holiday and called her “one of the hardest working people” he had ever met.
“She worked seven days a week,” he said. “She might even go two to three months like that.”
Winnegar said when Mrs. Holiday arrived from California, she often got lost along the Fort Worth streets. But after two and a half years, she knew her way around and often helped Winnegar with directions.
“[At first], she didn’t know where to go,” he said. “She got lost all the time. I told her everything about where to go and to follow me. After two and a half years, it started to change. She started telling me where to go. We just reversed.”
Chemistry also played a big role in their relationship.
“We got along great,” he said. “We knew exactly what the other was doing. And on the job, it made it a lot easier.”
Winnegar joked how he and Denise were opposites when it came to memorizing names.
“I can’t remember names, but she knew everybody,” he said. “They’d go ride her bus one time, and she knew their name. She was big talker, too. I’ve worked with a lot of men who didn’t work as hard as she did.”
In September, Mary Ruth Jones began her 31st year working for TCU. The Clark Hall office assistant said Mrs. Holiday was a “very, very special” woman who was “always alert.”
“I rode with her for a long time,” she said. “She was so committed to TCU. She loved working here.”
Jones said Mrs. Holiday could sense if anyone was having a bad day and that everyone appreciated riding on her bus.
“Everyone enjoyed being a part of the shuttle ride because she always had something good to say about TCU,” she said. “We’d talk about football games and everything. She is going to be missed.”
Victoria Reneau graduated from TCU in May 2013 with a master’s in education. She said she took Mrs. Holiday’s bus everyday from Lot 4 to Palko Hall and Mrs. Holiday did “sweet things that weren’t necessary.”
“I was a TA [Teaching Assistant] in the College of Education, and she knew I was a TA,” said said. “She would drop me off right at Palko instead of driving all the way to the shuttle stop.”
Reneau said Denise circled and searched the parking lot for pedestrians so they wouldn’t have to walk from their cars, especially if it was raining.
Students confided in Mrs. Holiday and talked about school and work, and in turn, she dove into stories about her family, her children and her husband, Reneau said.
“She had an ever-peasant, always-happy view of the world,” Reneau said. “She was great.”
Born on April 16, 1961, Mrs. Denise Jewel Holiday is survived by her husband Robert Lee Holiday, 51, and her daughter Tamara Garrison, 30.