After 41 years shepherding Levittown children safely across the street, Nassau County police crossing guard Louise T. Kobs, 91, is retiring from her post.
Kobs reported dutifully to work twice each weekday, once in the morning and then in the afternoon, guiding students across the intersection of Orchid Road and Violet Lane on the way to Northside Elementary School.
She stepped away earlier this month, but put on her official uniform one more time Tuesday for her official retirement. She returned to her intersection where she was honored for her more than four decades of service.
“I’m very sad. It’s the greatest job in the world,” Kobs said Tuesday morning in an interview. “I loved it. It gave me something to wake up to and get things going. I’m not a person to be still. I’m always active and I’m going to keep going.”
Kobs put on her neon jacket and crossing guard hat as she returned to the intersection for her final shift Tuesday afternoon. She was greeted with digital traffic boards flashing messages including, “We will miss you,” and “Congrats Louise."
"I love all the excitement, I think I deserve it. I enjoyed every moment," she said.
She was honored by officials including Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. Ryder said the department never had to reassign an officer to man her post.
He son Kevin Kobs said at first, she wasn’t ready to retire.
“Honestly there was some reluctance. You heard her talking about the kids. She loves the community,” Kevin Kobs said. “My mom never talked about her responsibility as being a job or work. She really loved the kids. That kept her going.”
During her career, Kobs never called in sick and was not deterred by migraine headaches, rain or snow. She said she connected with many of the students, from kindergarten to fifth grade, who called her Ms. Louise, and they have still come to visit her as adults
“Every day was fascinating to me. I looked forward to going to my crossing. I was always there no matter what,” she said. “People ask me, how do you stay out there all these years? The rain never bothered me.”
She said she was inspired to join the Eighth Precinct watching crossing guards when she was walking her own children to school and was attracted by the official uniform.
Kobs said she could keep going, but is ready now to go to breakfast with friends, spend time with her daughter, seven grandchildren and great granddaughter, Lily Louise.
“I’ll miss the children the most. They tell me I can go back to see the kids and I will. They’re my life, I love them,” she said. “Something made me say, I think I’ve made it to 91, how much more can I do? I’m going to be here and I’m going to make it to 100.”
With Cecilia Dowd