Civil Service Longtime Postalemployees, Known for Their Way with Customers, Set to Retire

Article excerpt

There's probably not a West Dundee post office customer that Sue Teas or Gary Steinmann does not know.

Together they have been working as either postal carrier or clerk for a total of 69 years.

They have taken and weighed boxes, oversized envelopes and letters, for Steinmann since the 1970s and for Teas since the 1980s. Decades of Christmas delivery rushes and income tax seasons have come and gone with them being behind the counter or a carrier bag.

Those days are coming to an end, though, for the pair. Teas and Steinmann will retire at the end of this month. With them, they will take memories of smiles and stories from customers and friendly and excitable dogs.

"I started in 1975 as a carrier when the post office was still in downtown West Dundee," Steinmann said. "Stamps were 13 cents before computers, emails and direct (bank) deposits. There was a lot more mail to be delivered back then."

He knew every dog on his route, every street and most of the names of the residents.

"Oh yes, I knew the dogs that were friendly. I would bring treats for them with me," he said. "I also knew the dogs to watch out for. I'm an animal lover. They needed to get used to me."

Teas started in 1984, after postal employees moved into their new Route 31 building. Then, stamps were more expensive, but the Internet still had not made its dent into the volume of mail that was being delivered six days a week.

She was not a carrier, but she knew the struggles of those who walked the tree-lined streets of the 60118 ZIP code for East and West Dundee and Sleepy Hollow.

"People don't realize how hard carrying that bag is on the body," she said. "When it's full, it can weigh 50 pounds. Walking up and down on those streets is hard on the carriers' backs and legs. I've always worked the desk, and I've always enjoyed my job because I work with the customers."

After 10 years, Steinmann came in from the streets and began working at the desk, too. …