THE Mirboo North Primary School has led community tributes to long-term school crossing supervisor Kristy Rutjens who passed away on Easter Sunday (April 12).

The crossing manned by Kristy for 18 years was adorned with flowers and chalk-drawn messages as the news spread.

The school said it was deeply saddened by the passing of Kristy who was so much more than just a lollipop lady.

“Always up for a chat, Kristy was genuinely interested in how people were doing and how the kids’ day was at school,” the school wrote on Facebook.

“Kristy took her job seriously and always made the safety of the kids a priority. Rain, hail or shine she was out there to ensure our kids got to and from school safely and parents would rest easy knowing she was there to help the kids cross our busy highway.

“Whilst Kristy only manned our highway crossing, she took it upon herself to put out the crossing flags on Balook Street morning and night too.”

Kristy had a long association with Mirboo North’s schools, not only as a former student of both the primary school and secondary college but also as a volunteer either in the art room or in classrooms listening to students read.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and our thoughts are with them all during this very sad and difficult time,” the school said.

South Gippsland Shire Council staff and administrators also offered their condolences to Kristy’s family and friends, saying she took great pride in ensuring local children made it to school safe and loved getting to know local students and families.

Many residents added their tributes and memories.

Lizzie Skinner – “Forever part of the fabric of Mirboo North.”

Kylie-Jane Larmour – “Kristy was such a lovely lady, so kind, genuine and considerate. She always had a smile and a high five for children and parents alike every time you walked past. She always took the time for a chat and she seemed to know the name of every student too.”

Deborah Lee – “Can’t believe our lovely Kristy has passed away. You were a people person, and a force to be reckoned with, a perfect fit for the job.”

Shareen Bickerton – “Loved passing through the morning crossing and having a wave from Kristy.”

Jane Coker – “Kristy was a valued member of Mirboo North’s community choir Grandridge 245. She loved singing and her cheery nature kept us laughing.”

Dianne Campbell Kiddell – “Dear Kristy, how you kept us on our toes and entertained with your many stories that were shared around the meal table at Community Kitchen. You would tell us that you didn’t really enjoy cooking, but you were great at making pancakes that were delicious.”

A memorial service will be held in Mirboo North at a later date.