KCK school mourns loss of ‘Mr. Bob,’ crossing guard killed saving two kids’ lives

A crossing guard identified as Bob Nill was struck and killed Tuesday morning outside Christ the King Catholic School. (Photo by Laura Ziegler, KCUR)

by Laura Ziegler and Kyle Palmer, Kansas News Service

A crossing guard employed by the city of Kansas City, Kansas, died Tuesday after he pushed two schoolchildren out of the way of an oncoming car.

The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. along the 5400 block of Leavenworth Road outside the Christ the King Catholic School. Kansas City, Kansas, Police have identified the victim as 88-year-old Bob Nill.

Christ the King Principal Cathy Fithian called Nill a “lovely person” who had been helping kids safely across the busy road outside the school for the past five years.

Students at Christ the King Catholic School called crossing-guard Bob Nill ‘Mr. Bob.’ (Photo by Bart Nill)

“Mr. Bob is what the kids called him. They loved him so much,” she said. “He was always so worried about kids’ safety. When there was ice on the sidewalk, he’d come up and tell us in the school so we could come up and make sure the kids wouldn’t fall. He always thought about the kids more than himself,” she said.

Dave Reno, a spokesman for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, said Nill had been employed by the city as a crossing guard since 2015. He said Nill was “dedicated and approachable.”

“Everybody’s pretty broken up about it,” Reno said. “It’s solemn around here today.”

Kansas City, Kansas, police are investigating the incident. Investigators say a black sedan heading east struck Nill. The driver of the sedan was taken to a hospital after the incident.

Officer Jonathan Westbrook, a police spokesman, said police didn’t know the cause of the accident.

Fithian, the principal, said two children came running into the Christ the King school building just after 8 a.m., saying a vehicle had hit “Mr. Bob.”

Fithian said the two children, a 3rd grader and 5th grader, had been preparing to cross the street when Nill yelled at them to stop.

“He saved their lives. Thank God they listened to him,” she said.

Fithian said the two children had some counseling before leaving to go home with their parents, who were also shaken up. Fithian said other area Catholic schools have offered Christ the King counseling support, but her thoughts are on Nill and his family at this time.

“He gave his life for the kids today,” she said.

Editor’s note: In his younger years, Bob Nill was a Kansas City, Kansas, businessman, coach and a local banker.

Laura Ziegler is KCUR’s community engagement reporter. Kyle Palmer is KCUR’s news director.
Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org.

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