Saltillo PostMaster Mollie White is retiring after 35 dedicated years of service at the post office. White will be honored Feb. 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Saltillo Community Center with a retirement reception. All friends, family and community members are invited to come and share their favorite memories with and help honor White.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Saltillo Postmaster Mollie White to retire after 35 years of dedicated service

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 3, 2008 - For 35 years she has been as much a fixture in Saltillo as the post office itself. And, on Feb. 3, Mollie White will officially hang up her postal scales and begin life as a retired person.

Most will agree that one automatically thinks of White when they think of Saltillo Post Office, she's worked there so long. She even predates the current postal facility in Saltillo, by two buildings!

Of course, she has been part of the community community for most of her life. White lived with her parents, Will and Addie Matthews, and siblings in Weaver during her youth, graduating from Saltillo High School in 1948. She went on to marry Leroy White on Feb. 16, 1951, in Sulphur Springs, and later left the area for a short while, but ultimately returned home to Saltillo.

White first began work with the postal service as a clerk on Feb. 23, 1973, when the woman who held the job quit. In 1984, White was named postmaster for Saltillo Post Office, a position she held until this weekend.

She can recall a time when all mail was distributed in a small building located a short distance from the current office, and another small wooden building which most recently housed a beauty shop.

"We moved into this building in 1987," White said. "The other was a nice building, but there was just not a lot of space."

Until about 3 months ago, White had taken very little time away from her post, aside from the occasional vacation days. She could be counted on to be at the post office each Monday through Friday beginning at 7 a.m. to begin the two hour process of sorting mail. She'd distribute mail addressed to post office boxes in the appropriate slots and put the route mail for the 300 rural customers aside for the letter carrier. Then, she'd spend the rest of the day selling stamps, money orders and assisting postal customers with whatever they needed until 4 p.m.

Over the years, the internal workings of the job have changed, going from a manual equipment to modern computerized machinery.

"It was different then," White said. " Then all we had was a manual type money order machine and books we'd keep up the daily business with. Now we have stamps that don't need licking. We have a computer ... fax, scan, credit card machine."

While the business has grown with the times, so have the list of customers. Until recently, the route and list of postal recipients remained mostly the same, or at least stayed in the same families However, as more people have begun moving into the area the number of postal customers has increased too. And it's those, the regular postal customers who have become friends and some even like family that White said she'll miss the most.

A few health issues right at the holidays last year required treatment and resulted in White having to be off work for an extended period of time. She's still experiencing difficulties from some problems, and decided to retire to dedicate time toward getting well.

But, while out White made sure that her tasks were taken care of the by same woman who works two hours at the post office each Saturday. Unfortunately, her helper is not eligible to take over White's job, because she's only temporary help with no associated benefits. A postal officer in control is expected at the post office next week to begin the process of selecting someone to fill White's slot as Saltillo postmaster.

White will be honored Feb. 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Saltillo Community Center with a retirement reception. All friend, family and community members are invited to attend to share their favorite memories with and help honor White.

The long-time postmaster asks and emphasizes "no gifts please." She said friends presence and well wishes are the gifts she'll treasure.

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