Looking Back: Thomas Dudley Peal
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Just when I think I have written all I know about a subject, more information suddenly reveals itself. Such is the case with Grain Valley’s first school buses. This past weekend, I visited with Dennis Affolter, great, great nephew of Thomas Dudley Peal. T. D., as he was known by his friends and family, was the owner of Grain Valley’s first buses.
A closer look at old Grain Valley yearbooks revealed several photos including this one in the 1938 yearbook.
By 1945, the yearbook had photographs of the busses with their drivers and pupils. One was the photograph featured last week of Mr. Frantz and his “South Bus”. A third route had been added with the “Pink Hill” bus driven by Mr. Graham. The “North” bus route was driven by Mr. Peal.
Thomas Dudley Peal (1882-1970) was born near Warsaw, Missouri the sixth child of Samuel and Rebecca (Elliott) Peal. His father died in when he was one-year old. He apparently moved several times and lived with various relatives during his youth. In 1917, he was living in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, when he met and married Willa Graham from Kansas City. They were married in Richmond, Missouri on July 7, 1917.
According to the 1930 U. S. Census, they were living in Grain Valley where two of his brothers, Robert and Harvey has made their homes. T. D. listed his occupation as theater manager. On the 1940 U. S. Census, T. D. listed his occupation as school bus owner and driver. However, in his obituary it stated, “Before he retired, Mr. Peal was a real estate broker in Grain Valley.”
Sounds like Thomas D. Peal had a real entrepreneurial spirit!
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
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