'Gruntled' postal worker retiring after 30 years on job

Letter-perfect career sealed

Posted: Wednesday, March 01, 2000

For the better part of three decades, John Snyder has served customers at the United States Post Office in Kenai. At the counter he helped mail packages, sold stamps and took care of money order and passport needs 40 hours a week.

Today, after nearly 30 years, Snyder begins his retirement.

"I have mixed emotions, wondering if it was a wise move," he said.

Snyder, 60, said when he started working for the postal service, a postage stamp cost only 6 cents. Today, the cost of a stamp is 33 cents and is scheduled to rise soon, he said.

He also remembers the 1986 post office move from the building now occupied by Don Jose's to its current location.

The postal service offered Snyder an early retirement when he was 53, but he turned it down. For the past seven years since the offer, he has been planning for this time in his life, he said.

"It is kind of hard to teach old dogs new tricks," Snyder said.

He said he has enjoyed his time at the post office, but there are new things in the office all the time.

In the time Snyder has been in Kenai, the postmaster position has changed five times, he said.

"He really is sad, he has really enjoyed being there," his wife, Marlene, said.

Snyder and his wife, leave Thursday for a month-long trip throughout the United States.

During their trip, they plan on visiting family, attending their 35th college reunion in South Carolina and going to Disney World.

After such a long career, Marlene Snyder said she thought the trip would take his mind off retiring.

When the couple returns, Snyder has many projects he wishes to conquer, including learning to operate a computer, taking various college classes and doing more for his church and volunteer-related work.

A major plan on the Snyders agenda is taking a trip to Bolivia, the place where he graduated from high school and where his brother has worked as a missionary for 43 years.

Postmaster Vicki Shillam said Snyder has grown with the community, and he has his favorite customers who will wait for him to help them.

"He has always been courteous with the customers and professional with the dress code and in his paper work," Shillam said.

The Kenai post office had an employee celebration Thursday for Snyder. Keeping with the theme of his plans, they gave him a map of Bolivia and lots of information about the country.

"He is going to be missed," Shillam said.

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