Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hailey postmaster retires after 32 years

Kathleen Ederís father was postmaster in Great Falls, Mont.


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey Postmaster Kathleen Eder introduced free downtown Hailey mail delivery in 1998.

Kathleen Eder will retire from her position as Hailey postmaster this month after 32 years of supervising local mail delivery.

"It's been a great career but it's time to move on to other things," said Eder, who will travel to New Zealand and Australia during the first few weeks of her retirement.

The Hailey Post Office will host an open house to say goodbye to Eder on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mail Clerk Linda Olson has worked with Eder for 23 years.

"I've enjoyed working with her," Olson said. "She's a fair employer with a great sense of humor."

Eder's father, Mark Fuller, served as postmaster of Great Falls, Mont., and was involved in the development of the zip code system. Eder began working for the U.S. Postal Service while attending the University of Montana in Missoula.

"No one ever plans to work in the Postal Service," she said

At that time, she had plans to work as a physical therapist, but instead discovered skiing and met her future husband, Jerry. After two summers sorting mail and working graveyard shifts in Montana, Eder became a clerk/carrier and committed to a career in mail delivery. She worked in Whitefish, Mont., and in 1980 was promoted to supervisor. She moved to Hailey in 1982.

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Eder increased mail delivery for the East Fork area from three days a week to six, and oversaw the beginning of free delivery in Hailey in 1998 when the post office moved from River Street to Airport Way.

Eder said that for a brief period during the 1970s, the Postal Service printed messages and placed them in mailboxes for customers.

"It was like a telegram," she said.

Eder said the program, called "e-com," might have given the Postal Service a competitive jump into the arena of electronic mail, which eventually impacted the agency with computerized instant communication.

"We missed the boat on that," she said. "What has hit us in the last year during the recession is that people and businesses are sending less bulk mail and newsletters."

Tina Holland from Shoshone will take over until a new postmaster is hired.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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