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Three longtime post office workers retire

Feb 21, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The employees represent 79 years of service in the industry.

Regular customers of the U.S. post office in Riverton will notice some familiar faces missing when they line up to mail their letters and packages in the coming months.

Three longtime postal employees retired recently: sales and service associates Larry Rowse and Diane Schubach and lead clerk Connie Shaw. Together, they represent 79 years of service in the industry.

Shaw has spent 35 years with the U.S. Postal Service, beginning in Powell when she was 19 and moving to Riverton in 1978 or 1979. Schubach got her start 26 years ago in Shoshoni and was transferred to Riverton in 1992, and Rowse has been at the Riverton office for 18 years.

"I'm a newbie," he joked.

All three have experienced every aspect of mail collection and delivery, and they have witnessed a transformation to a more computerized process over the years.

"We used to have to sort all the mail," Schubach said. "Now it goes to Casper."

"It's really changed a lot," Shaw agreed.

She shared some memories of her time in the service, beginning with her first day as a carrier in Powell.

"I got bit on the butt by a dog," Shaw said, laughing.

The task didn't get easier, either, especially when winter weather came. Shaw said there is a picture of her standing on the sidewalk in Riverton surrounded by a storm of snow and sleet.

"That's the coldest I've been in my life," she said. "It was miserable."

A more positive story of a wintry day sticks out in her memory too. Shaw said she was still a rookie in Powell when she was chosen to make the last delivery on Christmas Eve.

"I was whining (about taking) the last-minute packages," she said. "But it turned out to be really neat."

She said the snow was falling as she drove the post office's old World War II pickup truck through the town, passing out Christmas presents to families who were waiting eagerly for the deliveries.

"It was really cool," she said. "They were just elated."

As the years passed, she was able to nab an inside job, spending 17 years "at the window" as a sales and service associate like Rowse and Schubach. Rowse said theirs is a coveted position.

"It has good hours," he said. "I used to work 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. sorting the mail."

He said he also enjoys working with the public. Rowse has been in sales and service for four years compared to Schubach's 12, but both employees said people are generally in good spirits when they come to the post office.

"I'd say 99 percent are pretty good," Schubach said. "I love the window."

Rowse said he has learned to recognize the customers who might be agitated about a screwed-up delivery or a lost package. He said it doesn't take much work to soften their attitudes.

"I've only had a couple of bad customers, but if you have people skills you can distract them," he said. "They get over whatever they're mad about."

He produced a stack of cards he has received from regular customers congratulating him on his retirement.

"They've been coming in and wishing us well," he said. "I've met a lot of nice people, and I'm going to miss them."

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