Finding Love on the Campus Bus

When the School of Nursing was established fifty years ago, very few students owned a car on campus. The Kent State University Campus Bus Service (CBS) was established about this same time to address the dramatic student population growth on campus.

Since the clinical sites at the time, Mt. Sinai and St. Lukes Hospitals, were located an hour away in Cleveland, a campus bus was chartered to transport the nursing students. Once a week, a student driver would transport nursing students to their clinical locations and remain in the city, sometimes missing their own classes, until it was time to transport everyone back to campus in the evening.

Halfway through the winter quarter of 1969, the student bus driver decided he could not continue missing classes. Ron Paskey, ’69, a business student who worked in the campus busing office, was assigned to the route.

Ron had never driven to Cleveland before and did not know the previous driver's route. Diana Spaan, a nursing student from that first class, enjoyed sitting at the front of the bus and supplied the needed directions to Ron. He would continue to drive the nursing students through the end of the spring quarter.

When Ron graduated from Kent State in 1969, Diana thought that would be the last time she would see him. After returning to school in the fall, she needed to schedule a pick-up for an event she was planning. Much to her surprise, Ron answered the bussing office phone when she called. He was now employed full-time as the operations manager. Recognizing a second chance to get her phone number, Ron asked Diana out.

Wanting to impress her, Ron planned an exciting first date that included tickets to see Bill Cosby, and opening act, The Carpenters, at Kent State. After the show, they went to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the theater. As a licensed airplane pilot, Ron ended their first date by treating Diana to touch and go landing maneuvers on the runway.

The pair would date for a year. On the weekends, because he had a car, Ron would often drive Diana home to Cleveland to spend the weekend with her and her family. It was on one such drive home in 1971 that he asked her to marry him. She said yes, but only after she finished her schooling. Diana graduated in June 1971 and sat for her nursing exam a week later. The pair tied the knot in September 1971, and in October, Diana began working as a nurse at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.

For the past 32 years, the couple has enjoyed planning day trips, cruises, and overnight extensions for their travel company, Paskey Tours. Ron started the business part-time while working at Kent State. He would set up and plan trips for classes and department heads. Once the trip was arranged, Ron’s father would escort the participants.

This year, Diana and Ron are celebrating 46 years of marriage! The couple has four children, Gary, Jennifer, Eric, and Melissa, all graduates of Kent State University, and five grandchildren. Ron retired from the Campus Bus System in 1998, ending his 30-year tenure. Diana retired from Robinson Memorial Hospital in December 2002 after a 30-year nursing career.

After retirement, Ron and Diana devoted themselves full-time to growing Paskey Tours. Some of their favorite adventures have included a Mediterranean cruise, sightseeing in Alaska and Hawaii, Christmastime in Nashville, TN, overnight trips to New York City, and seeing first-run Broadway shows at the theater in Cleveland, OH.

POSTED: Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 9:57am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 3:24pm
Mariah Gibbons