Alice Lorraine Lane
The Heart & Soul of Jefferson Transit
Those of us who call Jefferson County, Washington home are truly blessed to be surrounded by such awe-inspiring beauty. But even more awesome are the giving, caring souls who share our little piece of paradise. One of the most caring and giving of these was Alice Lorraine Lane.
Through rain, snow or sunshine, Alice drove her Jefferson Transit bus to and fro along local highways, safely delivering countless thousands to their many destinations. But Alice was not just a bus driver. Alice Lane was a friend, a counselor and a big sister whose love and compassion for all things living became legendary.
Alice began driving for Jefferson Transit on March 1, 1996 and throughout the next 21 years there were so many acts of genuine caring from this unique person that it would take a book to relate them all. I’ll recall just a few.
Several years ago two Tlingit natives, visiting from Alaska, missed the last Saturday bus to Poulsbo and were stranded in Port Townsend until Monday morning. At the end of her 12 hour shift, Alice came back in her own car and drove them to the Bainbridge ferry dock—some 2 ½ hours away. They offered her money; she settled for a native blessing. When a long-time bus rider died one cold night, homeless and alone in the weeds of Kah Tai Lagoon park, a grieving Alice Lane bought flowers and said a silent farewell as she placed them on the ground where he made his final bed. When no one claimed his body, Alice paid for the burial. And then there was the elderly, feeble bus passenger who had outlived most of her family and friends. Often, Alice would go over on her day off to help out with laundry or just visit.
On August 16, 2017 gentle, caring Alice passed from this mortal life. Some tell me it was her time to leave. I don’t know. Perhaps the answer may be found in the words of poet/songwriter Don McLean, in his tribute to Vincent Van Gogh: “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”
(The photo of Alice Lane was taken during the annual Rhody Festival in Port Townsend in 2016 by fellow JT driver and friend, Lloyd Eisenman.)