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Oldest U.S. Postal Service employee to retire

By Ed O'Keefe

Chester Reed, 95, the oldest employee of the U.S. Postal Service, retires Wednesday after 37 years at the San Bernardino, Calif., Processing and Distribution Center.

Chester Reed
(Image courtesy of U.S. Postal Service)

Reed worked as a mark machinist, mail handler and forklift operator. Colleagues plan to toast Reed's departure with cake and ice cream and by giving him a leather NASCAR racing jacket with the Postal Service logo, sent by Postmaster General John E. Potter. Reed loves cars.

Reed, who is hard of hearing, spoke Tuesday by telephone with the assistance of plant manager Mary Brunkhorst:

Why did you decide to retire now?

I figured I don't have too many years left and, who knows, I could go tomorrow. My son, he likes to travel, and I'd like to do some traveling and he's a good traveling companion. He's kind of my right-hand man, so I don't know, the Good Book says there's a time for everything. . . .

My plans right now are to finish my tour of Scandinavia, to visit Russia, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. We're just going to try to make a round run and see everything that I've never seen before. (He also wants to see the Taj Mahal in India. He has visited the Great Wall of China and Rio de Janeiro, where he hang-glided at 93.)

What did you do before the Postal Service?

For 25 years I was in the Air Force, before there was an air force (it was the Army Air Corps).

So why did you decide to join the Postal Service?

I like activity and I had a lot of time on my hands. When I first went to the post office in Riverside, they were interviewing a lot of people and it just so happened that they had an opening on the very day that I came in.

Continue reading this story >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Nice article Ed but a combined Spelling/ Geography Lesson may be in order. Although the town's name is often pronounced Bern-A-dino, the correct spelling is BernARdino and here's why. Two hundred years ago, Father Francisco Dumetz set out from Mission San Gabriel to explore the valley to the east. There he built a modest "capilla" (a chapel) honoring St. Bernardine de Siena. Upon returning to Mission San Gabriel, he told the mission fathers that the beautiful valley to the east would be named San Bernardino, In 1851 a wagon train of nearly 500 Mormon pioneers from Salt Lake City came through the Cajon Pass intending to settle the valley and purchased Rancho San Bernardino for $77,000 and thus was established Southern California's oldest incorporated city east of Los Angeles. By the way, San Berdoo is celebrating its' bi-centennial this year.

Posted by: sandersb24 | June 30, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

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