Dr. Henry Minot:
The Bus-Driving Surgeon
A murder has occurred and police summon the medical examiner. The man who gets the call is behind the wheel of a school bus.
It happened more than once in the unusual career of Dr. Henry D. Minot Jr., a distinguished thoracic surgeon who, in retirement, became a school bus driver as well as an assistant medical examiner.
A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Minot was born in 1919 and graduated from Harvard College in 1941. During World War II he served as a Navy aviator in dive-bombing squadrons based on aircraft carriers.
After the war he studied at Harvard Medical School, obtaining his degree in 1950. He practiced in Vermont before coming to Ridgefield in 1960. Dr. Minot was a thoracic surgeon at Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich Hospitals, with a practice based in Darien.
When he retired in 1986, there was a critical shortage of school bus drivers in Ridgefield. He signed on and drove buses here for three years and then became a driver in Wilton for more than a decade.
Retirement, Dr. Minot said, allows people to do low-paying jobs that are important to a community but not particularly popular. Bus driving is one example. "It's fun," he told The Ridgefield Press in 1992. "Some of the kids are very irritating, but most are okay and some are just amazing. It renews your faith in what's going to happen in the country and in the world."
As an assistant medical examiner, another job for which he volunteered in retirement, Dr. Minot was occasionally summoned when he was aboard his bus. He did not show up on the scene in a bus, though; he finished the run and grabbed his own car.
Did the retiree ever relax? Many ways, among them baking bread and driving his antique BMW motorcycle along picturesque back roads.
He died in 2004 at the age of 84.
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