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home : news : news Tuesday, May 24, 2016

12/29/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Fred Donovan of DeWitt is retiring after 25 years as a full-time city mail carrier. Donovan ended up following in his father’s footsteps, who worked as a rural mail carrier for 25 years in the Bernard area. Donovan began delivering mail in October 1987 and walked eight miles a day on his route. Photo by Kate Howes
Donovan makes final deliveries Saturday

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Saturday, after 25 years, Fred Donovan of DeWitt officially will reach the end of his appointed mail route.

Since October 1987 - when the cost of a first-class postage stamp was just 22 cents - Donovan has been a full-time city letter carrier, walking eight miles a day delivering mail to 673 households.

It just so happens, he is retiring after putting in the same amount of time with the United States Postal service as did his father, Aronold, who worked as a rural mail carrier for the Bernard area.

Aronold retired in September 1990 after driving 85 miles a day and making 205 stops on his route that served 230 families.

Donovan says he didn't intend to follow in his father's footsteps - it just sort of worked out that way.

"My wife, Elvira, and I had been working at John Deere for almost 10 years," he relates. "Then, in 1986, the company went on a 6-month strike. I took the postal exam and in the summer of 1987 I got a call from (former DeWitt postmaster) Dan Gisel to work there and I talked it over with Elvira and decided to do it."

The soon-to-be 63-year-old says although it's been a good job and he's had great customers, the time has come to see what the next stage of his life has in store.

"I was 37 when I started," Donovan recalls. "I've enjoyed the job . . . I really have. Its just time for me to move on."

He'll take with him lots of memories, most of them fond but a few others he'd just as soon forget.

"I've had customers who have shown me gratitude during the holidays," Donovan shares. "I've also had a dog come at me through a picture window."

He even once was caught completely off guard by a tiny dog that leaped up and bit him on his behind.

Of course, there's the variety of weather conditions Donovan has endured to make sure his customers get their letters, postcards, bills and boxes on time.

Yet, all in all, Donovan has found his career with the postal service to be a satisfying one.

While residents no longer will see him hustling from house to house with a stack of mail in one hand and giving a friendly wave to passers-by with the other, Donovan will long be remembered for his years of devoted service.

"It really has been a good job," he says. "I enjoyed my customers. We'll see what comes next for me."

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