Greenfield Post Master to retire after 23 years on the job

  • Greenfield postmaster Patti Gibbons plans to retire at the end of December. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Greenfield postmaster Patti Gibbons plans to retire on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Greenfield postmaster Patti Gibbons plans to retire at the end of December. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Greenfield postmaster Patti Gibbons plans to retire at the end of December. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Greenfield postmaster Patti Gibbons plans to retire at the end of December. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Greenfield Post Master Patti Gibbons will be retiring at the end of December. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/26/2018 5:33:17 PM

It’s the end of an era as Greenfield Post Master Patti Gibbons is set to retire at the end of the month, after 23 years of orchestrating the mail delivery in town.

“She just goes above and beyond the call of duty for a post master,” said Dorene Adams of Greenfield. “I’m going to miss her and it’s going to be hard to fill her shoes.”

Gibbons plans to officially retire on Friday. She’ll be staying in her Hillsborough home, dedicating some time to volunteer work and enjoying being able to stay in on snowy winter days.

“I can honestly say I won’t miss that,” Gibbons said, of having to deliver mail in all kinds of weather.

But she is going to miss pretty much everything else about the job, she said.

“It’s like having a big family,” Gibbons said. “It’s warm and inviting. I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends. It’s not been a job. It’s just a place I go every day and spend some time.”

Gil Bliss of Greenfield said Gibbons is a “throwback to the way the postal service used to be.”

“She knows the community. She knows everyone,” Bliss said. “I’ve had letters addressed to ‘Grandpa’ and they still get here.”

Bliss, a former resident of Massachusetts, said he felt keenly the difference between the mail delivery there and the small-town approach taken by Gibbons. Recently, he said, there had been a mail mix-up where he’d received his neighbor’s mail, but none of his own.

“I called Patti and told her about it, and she went out to the boxes and fixed it herself to make sure it was taken care of. It’s a sense of pride in the job that you just don’t see much anymore,” Bliss said.

Gibbons has also hand-delivered late absentee ballots to Bliss, who serves as the Town Moderator, on election day to ensure they are counted.

“That’s not in her job requirements. It’s just another example of how she takes care of the town and the people,” Bliss said. “She’s a special person and we were lucky to have her.”

Though a post master is generally responsible for the administrative side of the post office, such as setting mail routes, supervising employees and enforcing procedures, at a small office such as in Greenfield, Gibbons said she’s done a bit of everything.

“I work at the retail counter, sort mail, sometimes deliver mail. I wear the hat of every employee that works here when it’s necessary,” Gibbons said. “We just try to work together as a team.”

Gibbons started her career in the postal service 32 years ago, when she moved to New Hampshire from Connecticut. She started as a city letter carrier in Manchester, and then as a supervisor int he mail processing plant in Manchester and as a supervisor at the Computerized Forwarding Service. In the five years before taking the position in Greenfield, she also served as a supervisor in the Keene Post Office.

One of the things she enjoys about Greenfield, she said, is the small town atmosphere and interacting with the people.

Sometimes, she said, that means working as an agent for a group of mothers participating in a secret Santa, delivering presents into mailboxes, despite lack of postage. The group thanked the mail carriers with their own secret Santa gift at the end of the exchange.

Gibbons often goes above and beyond to serve her postal patrons. As the end-of-day mail comes in from Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, for instance, she sorts out all the paychecks mailed addressed to Greenfield residents so the pay checks can be delivered from the Greenfield post office directly to the resident’s homes, avoiding the paychecks being sent to a processing in Manchester, which adds a day’s delay in delivery.

“The town’s been very friendly, and it’s been wonderful to work here. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to land.”

Adams said Gibbons rapport with the townspeople has always gone above and beyond the job description.

“There was an elderly woman in town who would drive up to the post office, park up in front and beep her horn, and Patti would stop what she was doing and take her her mail,” Adams said. “It’s that kind of thing. Who does that anymore? Who would be that thoughtful to help someone? She was always being friendly. You could always go in and chat with her.”

Adams, who also serves at the town’s Deputy Town Clerk, is organizing a retirement party for Gibbons, which will be open to residents. The party will be on Sunday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Greenfield Meeting House. A presentation will be awarded at 2 p.m., with cake and refreshments to follow. All are welcome.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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