When Gary Thompson hung up his satchel last week, it marked the end of an era.
His rural route in the village of Savona, NY, has been carried by a Thompson for 75 years. His late father, Warren, began his postal career on his return from World War II, and Gary took over after his dad retired nearly four decades later.
It was not in the younger Thompson’s plans to follow in his father’s tire tracks, however.
“They were having a tough time getting a substitute carrier for my dad’s route,” Thompson said. Then-Postmaster Dorothy White “drove right out to the farm and kept asking me to give it a try.
“She said it would only be one day a week, but now here we are, 37 years later.”
The Thompson family runs a farm in rural New York state and, like his father, Gary works two shifts — one for the Post Office and one at the farm.
While that sounds like a long day, Thompson said there were perks to the setup. “I got to deliver to a bunch of other farmers, and we got to talk a little shop and see how everyone is doing,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s been an awful good job.”
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