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Ready to walk the golf course

Postal worker retires after 45 years

Postal worker retires after 45 years

April 10, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - At 77, William "Bubby" Owens should be enjoying the good life instead of working a full-time job. But to hear him talk, he's been doing both - for the past 45 years.

"I love my job ... it's that simple," Owens said. His last day as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service in Hagerstown was March 31.

Back in the early 1960s, Owens said he applied for a job at the post office. But since only part-time work was available at that time and because he was married, he needed full-time employment.

Owens waited until a full-time job opened up. He worked for about 18 months for the post office, then was laid off.

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"After about eight months, I was back and I've never been laid off again," Owens said.

Some of his coworkers call him Bill while others prefer "Bubby," a nickname he got from his brothers and sisters who couldn't pronounce "brother" when they were youngsters, he said.

Stamps cost about 10 cents in those early days with the post office, Owens said. The work environment was quite different then, too.

"It was a lot nicer then but the people are still great," Owens said.

The one constant through the years has indeed been the personal contact with the people on his routes, Owens said. When news of his retirement reached some of his customers, there were hugs, balloons and other well wishes for his future.

Born and raised in Hagerstown, Owens graduated from Hagerstown High School. He was in the U.S. Army for two years, serving his tour in England rather than in Korea as he had expected when he was drafted.

"I was told I was to go to Korea but when I was asked if I was married, then I went to England," Owens said.

Over the years, Owens had walking delivery routes. More recently, he drove a truck to deliver mail in Edgewood Hills.

His day would start in the main post office on Franklin Street where the mail for his route was sorted. By about 10 a.m., Owens was ready to start delivering the mail.

"Every day, you work overtime," Owens said. The long hours and the number of circulars that postal workers now have to deliver are some of the things he won't miss.

Owens said he will miss the exercise and the people on his route.

"I'm going to play golf whenever I can," Owens said. And he jokingly said he will now have time to harass his wife.

Owens' wife, Ann, runs a day-care center in their home.

Also retiring from the post office after long runs are David Pierce, 66, who has 44 years on the job; and Ronald Miller, 48, with 30 years.

A mail clerk in a private company and then in the Army, Pierce was 32 when he signed on at the post office. The pursuit of his hobbies and a long "honey-do" list will keep him busy, he said.

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