After 38 years on Route 2, Mark Glatzel retired from the St. Joseph Post Office, finishing his career Aug. 27.
Glatzel started as a relief carrier on Route 2 in 1983. His father, Leo, was also a relief carrier on that same route in the 1960s.
Postmaster Bob Fleming hired Glatzel. Glatzel was trained by Gilbert (Gib) Stock, who was the regular carrier and trained him on all the aspects of sorting and delivering the mail.
“Back then the carriers were trained in the office,” Glatzel said. “Now they go to four days of training at a separate postal facility. After that they go to the office to learn the sorting case and the deliveries on the route.”
Jack Blommer and Tim Riesner were other regular carriers in the office as well and offered valuable advice to Glatzel, he said.
Glatzel was a relief carrier for six years on Route 2, then was converted to a regular carrier in 1989 when Stock retired. He has been an active member of the National Rural Letter Carrier Association (a union for rural carriers) since 1989. In 1994 he was elected the “local steward” and has held that position since. Glatzel has held officer positions at the local, area and state levels, including Area 4 representative and president and vice president.
“I always learn something new when I attend the association meetings, conferences and conventions, as well as reading information on the association websites,” Glatzel said.
Some highlights of Glatzel’s career include working with many dedicated carriers and managers, meeting many fellow carriers through the association, learning invaluable information from the association meetings and conventions from the “steward system” and from experienced carriers such as Gib, Jack, Larry, and Charlene, who are among the many carriers who have mentored Glatzel.
“I will miss the coworkers,” Glatzel said. “The many kind and friendly customers, like the ones who left cookies in the mail box, and the friendly dogs who met me at the vehicle door. I’ve known many of them since they were pups. Because I’ve been on the same route, I’ve seen the children grow up, marry and have children of their own.”
While Glatzel has many fond memories working on his route, there are some changes throughout the years that haven’t exactly thrilled him.
“One thing I won’t miss,” Glatzle said, “is the many Amazon parcels we are delivering now.”
After retirement, Glatzel plans to stay active in the St. Joseph Knights of Columbus where he has been a member for 35 years. He has held numerous positions at the local and state levels such as grand knight, financial secretary and director of various state programs.
Glatzel also plans to continue to be a part-time bus driver and mechanic for Trobec’s Bus Service. He has been with Trobec’s for 41 years. Born and raised on the family farm near St. Joseph, Glatzel helps his brother, Alan, with field work and caring for the animals, and he will continue to help. He also enjoys doing mechanic work on his vehicles and farm equipment.
With his supposed extra free time, Glatzel plans to do some traveling and camping with friends and family. He has this last note to share with his many customers: “Thank you to all the customers over the years who have welcomed and befriended me, and I ask that you do the same for the new carrier.”
He plans to continue to live in the St. Joseph area, so be sure to say hi when you see him around.