WATERLOO -- The longest serving employee at the Waterloo Region District School Board retired on Friday, after more than five decades on the job.

Wayne Lantz, the head custodian at John Darling Public School, has spent 52 years with the school board.

His first day on the job was Oct. 1, 1968.

He’s been working hard ever since, even through the pandemic.

"From your ceilings, halls, lights, student desks," he said, describing what he's been keeping clean.

Staff and students at the school describe Lantz as a humble, hard-working man.

"He's put in his time, he's done a wonderful job," teacher Betty Spurling said. "But, he needs some time for himself now."

Those who now Lantz say his hard work went well beyond cleaning duties.

"[He] goes over and above," Spurling said. "He's so friendly, he's probably the most generous, kind man that anyone could ever meet."

Lantz once built a unique music cart for a teacher after watching her struggle down the hallway. He took on the project in his spare time, which wasn't uncommon for Lantz.

"He sanded down the sides to make sure there wouldn't be any sharp edges and he added a fresh handle and many coats of paint," teacher Jennifer Reuchert said.

The school's students also admired Lantz. Nine-year-old Cole Bourassa dressed up as Lantz on "Superhero Day."

"I look up to him," Bourassa explained. "He is always friendly, works really hard."

"We’re so lucky that we had such an amazing person at our school," Reuchart said.

Lantz said he's leaving behind more than just a brick and mortar building.

He says he'll miss the bonds he's developed throughout his years on the job.

But, he plans to stay busy in his retirement.

"Probably woodworking and that sort of thing," he said.

Handing over his keys on Friday, Lantz had a final message for students and staff.

"Enjoy the rest of your summer and goodbye, because I won't be back," he said.

While he's moving into retirement, Lantz said if anyone needs help with a side project, he's just a phone call away.