'Just like family': Longest serving City of Calgary employee dies at 80

George Dorn proudly wore Calgary Transit badge No. 1 for years. The beloved City of Calgary employee has died at the age of 80, leaving behind four children and eight grandchildren.

George Dorn worked first C-train shift, wore badge No. 1

George Dorn has been behind the controls of a C-Train since the very beginning. 3:13

The beloved City of Calgary employee who wore badge No. 1 for Calgary Transit until his retirement after 50 years of service has died at the age of 80.

George Dorn retired just two years ago after working 50 years with the City of Calgary. He leaves behind four children and eight grandchildren.

In 1965, Dorn was in his 20s when he began his career with the city as a bus driver. There were just 311,000 people living in Calgary at the time.

When Calgary got its C-Train line in May 1981, Dorn worked that first shift. And he stuck with the trains after that.

"I'm my own boss," Dorn told CBC News in 2012. "It's like my own little office; it's got windows on three sides and the scenery changes every 60 seconds."

Dorn was part of many transit firsts in this city; he was the first to drive the West LRT line before handing over control to then-Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

At the time, Dorn told CBC News he's become close with many of his longtime riders.

"It's just like family, you see them every day," said Dorn. 

The longest serving City of Calgary employee George Dorn has died at the age of 80. He leaves behind four children and eight grandchildren. Dorn worked for Calgary Transit for 50 years and wore badge No. 1. (Supplied)

In 2012, Dorn said his kids wanted him to "pack it in" but he "wasn't quite ready." That time came three years later when he was honoured for his service at a city council meeting. 

Nenshi joked Dorn had been flirting with retirement for years.

"George and I have been having this conversation for four-and-a-half years," said Nenshi.

'George did it with great style'

Dorn told co-workers he'd never thought of driving trains as a job.

"It's just what I do," he said.

As for wearing badge No. 1, "It makes you feel old I guess, I'm the old man out here," he said with a smile.

The only downfall Dorn could see was the early mornings, getting up at 4 a.m. but "once I get up it's a different story."

Coworkers are remembering Dorn as someone who adored his job and truly believed in public service.

"On behalf of Calgary Transit and the City of Calgary our condolences go out to George's family at this very difficult time for them," said Sean Somers with the city's transportation department. 

"His passion for his work and his passion for his job was evident," said Somers. "George did it with great style."