Local postmasters retire with fond memories

LaPaz postmaster retires after 30 years
LAPAZ —Regina Davenport’s career with the U.S. Postal Service began shortly after high school with her first job at the Mishawaka Post Office in 1982. Today, seven postal positions later, Davenport is retiring from a job that she loves.
“The job variety is the main thing (I liked),” said Davenport during a retirement celebration for her at the LaPaz Post Office Tuesday, where she has been postmaster for the past five years. “I was allowed to apply for different positions, move to different offices…I am the type of person who gets bored easily, and I liked the challenge.”
Davenport has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for a total of 30 years.
She said that during her years at the LaPaz Post Office specifically, she has come to know and love the “small town spirit” of a close-knit community.
“This is where people meet and greet each other each day,” said Davenport, pointing out that since residents of LaPaz don’t have their mail delivered, they must come to the post office to pick it up daily.
“You get to know each other on a first-name basis,” Davenport said of cliental. “You know from the type of mail people get when they’ve had a death or a birth in the family.”
Davenport remembers a man named Edgar Clifton who used to walk to the bank and the post office each day even though he was in his 90s.
“He would walk to the bank first, then stop here for a break, then walk home,” recalled Davenport.
Clifton passed away suddenly and Davenport said she was shocked to learn that one of her “regulars” would no longer be walking through the doors.
“It’s moments that you have with (customers) that you cherish, because you never know how long you have with them,” said Davenport.
Post office customers showed their love and appreciation for Davenport throughout the day Tuesday, stopping in to wish her well, inquire about her future plans, or to simply tell Davenport that they would miss her.
Davenport said that one of her most memorable experiences at the post office was during a huge snowstorm in February 2011. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to make it in to work in the morning if she left, so she decided to camp out in the building throughout the evening.
“I couldn’t sleep much, but I got up early to start shoveling the front walk,” said Davenport. “People asked me how I got in and when I told them I spent the night they couldn’t believe it.”
Several residents, grateful for Davenport’s dedication to her job, brought her breakfast and lunch that day.
“That’s the small town experience — we take care of each other,” said Davenport.
Now that she is retired, Davenport plans to enjoy spending time with her 16-year-old daughter, Mary, and her husband Steve. She also looks forward to continuing helping with the LaVille Band Boosters and staying active in her church, Pine Creek Church of the Brethern.
“For a while, I’m just going to take it easy and enjoy life,” said Davenport.

For more on retiring area postmasters, see today's Pilot News print edition, Aug. 3, 2012.