Chances are good that if you live in Perry, IA, a member of the Pentico family has delivered your mail at one time or another.
“My supervisor and I used to say, ‘I really hope there isn’t a family emergency.’ It would have wiped out our city delivery side,” Janelle Hall, former Perry postmaster, said with a chuckle.
Hall, now the postmaster for Jefferson, IA, estimates that she’s worked with five of the six Pentico letter carriers, who have a combined total of 153 years of service with USPS.
The trail began in 1961 with James Pentico, who sorted mail in the mornings and delivered his route in the afternoons. He retired in 1992 after more than 32 years with the Postal Service.
James’s sons Randy, Ricky, Ronnie and Richard followed in his footsteps — and those were mighty big shoes to fill: The patriarch retired with 2,950 hours of sick time and hundreds of hours of annual leave, as well.
Luckily, the sons were up to the challenge. “Their work ethic was and is unparalleled,” Hall said. “I think I could count on one hand the number of times any of them, combined, have called in sick.”
In fact, Ronnie and Ricky were recognized in 2016 for their sizable sick-leave balances.
“That’s just the way I was raised,” Ricky said at the time. “You get up and come to work every day.”
James, Ronnie, Randy and Ricky have now retired, although Ronnie came back to work during the holidays, Hall said.
Three of the retirees shared a few thoughts on their postal connection.
“It was my livelihood, and a good paying job,” Randy said.
Ronnie added: “It was a lot of hard work, but the benefits were good.”
As for Ricky, he was happy for the interaction with customers. “I was able to meet people on my route and become well known in the community,” he said.
That leaves Richard as the sole brother still on the job; he and son Michael, who has five years as a letter carrier under his belt, are keeping the family tradition alive.
USPS “has provided us with a good living,” Richard said, adding jokingly, “The only [downside] is we haven’t been able to take that family vacation.”