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Albert J. Thompson Jr., honored NFTA bus driver; Oct. 18, 1927 -- April 16, 2012

Albert James Thompson Jr., 84, of Buffalo, a retired Niagara Frontier Transit Authority bus driver who was honored for more than 40 years of accident-free driving, died Monday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 84.

"Daddy Al," as he was known by his family, was the first transit worker to operate a Buffalo subway train and, family members said, was "coaxed out of retirement" by the NFTA to drive a PAL van, which provides transportation for the physically disabled. Mr. Thompson began working as a bus driver in 1950 and retired in 1993.

Mr. Thompson was an Army veteran of the Korean War. After being honorably discharged in 1952, he enlisted for the Army Reserve and served six more years.

At one time, Mr. Thompson was an active league bowler and also played defense in a semipro Canadian football league.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, the former Mattie M. Lewis; and three daughters, Edmonia D. Watkins, Pamela T. Sharpe and Yvonne D. Askew.

Services will be held at noon Monday in New Covenant United Church of Christ, 459 Clinton St., with a wake at 9:30.