Cryslynn Walker has seen many changes over her 34-year career in the postal service.
Perhaps the biggest one will be stepping away from the only employer she’s worked for.
Walker, who has been postmaster in Rugby for the past two years, retired last week.
“The opportunity came up (for early retirement), and I wanted to have more free time for myself, and I wanted to retire while I was still fairly young,” she said.
The Sherwood native began her career as a part-time flex clerk at at the Sherwood office after graduating from high school. She spent time working in the Minot office, and also filled in as an OIC (officer in charge) in a few other smaller offices before returning to Sherwood to become the postmaster. She held that post for 13 years before coming to Rugby.
Admittedly, she expected her tenure in Rugby would be a little longer, but the right situation came up, and she decided to accept an early retirement.
As postmaster, Walker served as the office administrator. Her duties included overseeing the staff, which on a typical day consists of 10 employees working in Rugby. Of course, there is a fair amount of paperwork to tend to, and then there is coming up with contingency plans to address unexpected situations which affect the office.
She said this winter has been especially challenging, not only for her office, but for others, given the weather problems affecting delivery schedules. Another challenge is the office is currently short-staffed, and a hiring freeze, has meant the work continues with a fewer employees.
As with many other businesses and services, technology has created the biggest change, and perhaps the biggest asset, Walker said.
“I remember when we would hand write the forwarding addresses,” she said.
Now machines handle much of the sorting, and over time new services have been added such as priority and express mail. And the post office has developed commercially-based pricing to attract larger customers. “It’s become more business-orientated,” she said.
Cryslynn and her husband, Dave, have enjoyed their new home. “We’ve met a lot of nice people and the town has a lot of nice features,” she said.
Some of her time will be used to help with the business end of her husband’s landscaping service. The couple have one grown son, Ryan, who currently resides with his family in Larimore.
Matt Taylor, Devils Lake, is currently working as the Officer In Charge (OIC) in the Rugby office. It’s not known when the post office will announce a permanent postmaster.
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