If there’s anything Jory Bohanan’s father wants the world to know about his son, it’s that he had a big heart.
“My son, he was a great man. He had a big heart. He was a genuine, good person, and he was easy-going,” said Darryl Bohanan via a phone call on Wednesday.
He spoke Wednesday about his 39-year-old son Jory, a Santa Clarita Transit city bus driver who died last week.
MV Transportation Inc., which contracts with the city of Santa Clarita to provide transit services, announced last week that a driver had died several days after testing positive for COVID-19, but did not release the driver’s identity.
Darryl Bohanan said he didn’t know if his son actually contracted the coronavirus, but said Jory was more than a bus driver, he was a first responder in mass transportation — a risky, but critical job needed and conducted for the public during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
With statewide orders for people to stay at home and for businesses considered nonessential to temporarily shut down, public transportation in Santa Clarita and across California continues to operate for essential workers and the general public who go out for necessary runs, such as for grocery shopping.
“He was a first responder in making sure that people got from place to place, from point A to point B during this pandemic — that’s a big task in helping mobilize a large body of people,” Darryl said.
The father described his son as a physically and mentally strong individual who “wasn’t taking any medications.”
MV Transportation has acknowledged five local drivers have tested positive for the virus. The driver who died became the Santa Clarita Valley’s first reported death connected to COVID-19. The driver had become ill on Saturday, March 28, and died just a few days later.
Jory loved his job, his father said, adding that he was a mass transit driver for 14 years. He had previously worked for L.A. Metro and had only worked a couple of months for MV Transportation.
Some drivers, including a few who are self-quarantining, with Santa Clarita Transit have said they did not have the opportunity to meet their co-worker Jory. But previous colleagues of his with Metro said they remember him the same way his father described him.
One of his frequent Metro passengers, Kenny Uong, said Jory was “very dedicated to his job. I’ll always remember the radiant smile he gives when I board the bus. I’ll definitely miss being one of his passengers and riding along with him.”
David Bernal said Jory “was a great guy and always a pleasure to be around. He was my friend.”
Others described him as a “cool dude” who “liked to play around” and was “loved by all who knew him.”
Jory was a sports fanatic, as well, said Darryl. “He was sports-crazy. He would go to baseball games, football games, basketball games … he was a Chicago boy; every Chicago team.”
Jory is survived by his children and was engaged to be married, said his father, adding that his son “was a mama’s boy but he was everybody’s friend.”
Friends and family have created a GoFundMe account to cover for Jory’s funeral expenses, for which, by Friday, more than $6,200 had been raised. To donate, visit: gofundme.com/f/jory-bohanan-funeral-expenses.