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Family says bus driver with Knox County Schools died due to COVID-19

The family of Tammy Sims Murphy, 56, said she leaves behind three living children and five grandchildren. She was a bus driver for more than 15 years.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tammy Sims Murphy, a 56-year-old Knox County Schools bus driver, passed away due to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

"Anytime she walked into a room, it lit up. There was there's nobody else like Tammy," said her sister, Julie Schommer.

To her daughter, their relationship was unmatched. She was the friend she could count on the most.

"She was my best friend. She was all of my friends' best friend. She was a best friend to everyone that rode her school bus for 20 some odd years," said her daughter, Lindsey Murphy.

She was a person who was loving at heart and the kids she picked every morning were indeed her kids.

"She loved her kids on the bus, like the kids on the bus were her kids. She says, 'My kids.' And she had a relationship with their parents." said her Murphy.

For 15 years, she did what she loved. Then, she battled COVID-19 for nearly a month before Tammy Sims Murphy passed away.

"She looked at the window and she looked at me and she made a heart with her hands. Just letting me know she loves me," said Schommer.

The last spoken message she had was short but it was who she was.

"'I love you. I love my kids. I love my grandkids, make sure they know that and take care of my animals,'" said Lindsey.

Her mother said that she is confident, knowing where her oldest child sits now.

"I can just see Tammy now she entered heaven here. She was just a goofy kind of person," she said.

Yet Tammy leaves a void that can never be filled to the ones that loved her the most.

"My good morning text messages. And just like talking about our day, like we just talk?" said Lindsey. "I'm 27. I've never went a day without talking to my mom."

Spanish Version: Familia: Conductora de autobús de KCS murió debido a COVID-19

She worked with students at Hardin Valley Elementary School, Hardin Valley Academy, Karns Elementary School, and Karns Preschool.

Her sister described her as some who loved dancing and said she was known as a jokester. She said that Tammy was loud and boisterous — a person who tried to bring smiles to faces.

Her family said that they "take comfort in knowing that she had accepted Christ and is in heaven now."

She was loved by her family, friends, and the community around her.