Society

Milano postal leader Davenport retiring after 25 years behind the counter

By MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter Staff Writer


Sue Davenport has served as Milano’s postmaster for the last 25 years. She will retire next week, but said she will miss the many faces that have walked through the doors. 
Reporter/Marie Bakken Sue Davenport has served as Milano’s postmaster for the last 25 years. She will retire next week, but said she will miss the many faces that have walked through the doors. Reporter/Marie Bakken MILANO—Sue Davenport has served as a phone book, dictionary, map, mailbox maintenance person, chicken keeper and a watchful eye for the town of Milano for the past 25 years and now it is time for the postmaster of the small city’s post office to retire.

Her last day at the Milano Post Office is July 31, a quarter of a century to the day she was assigned the position.

Davenport’s first day on the job in Milano was Aug. 1, 1987.

USPS START—She has worked for the United States Postal Service since 1980 when she got on as a parttime rural relief carrier in Rockdale.

“Sam Peebles gave me a chance and after two years I got hired on as full time,” she said.


Above, Davenport sells one of her last book of stamps to Milano resident Ricky Chapman. Above, Davenport sells one of her last book of stamps to Milano resident Ricky Chapman. The Milano job came open after Ned McElwrath left and she applied. The day she got the job was a memorable one.

“I had three flats that day,” Davenport joked.

CLEARINGHOUSES, INTERNET—Davenport has seen several changes throughout the postal system in her two and a half decades behind the desk.

“We went from a steady volume to an unbelievable amount of mail in the 80’s,” she said. “There were tons of advertising and the clearinghouses... it was overwhelming.”

Then came the age of technology and then everything changed.

“Then all of a sudden—the internet,” she said. “We never saw it coming.” The first class volume really began to decline, as did the sale of stamps, which is the main money maker for the USPS.


Sue Davenport plans on spending more time with family. She and husband Les have three children and 10 grandchildren. Sue Davenport plans on spending more time with family. She and husband Les have three children and 10 grandchildren. Because of that, along with the failing economy, Milano’s post office will be cut to just four operating hours during its days of operation.

“We don’t know when (the cut) will happen, but we know it’s coming,” Davenport said.

WEIRD PACKAGES—Being postmaster in a rural town, you can expect a few strange packages to cross your path.

“One time I opened the back door to find a case of bees,” she said. Davenport has also shipped several chickens throughout the years.

“Those could really stink,” she joked.

CHANGE OF SCENERY— Right as she began her job Milano’s downtown streets were paved as the construction of the viaduct was beginning.

“Out the front door not much has changed except the roads weren’t paved,” Davenport said. “Now out of the back door, the railroad overpass was built.” She refers to the half-mile long bridge that runs over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks.

The faces have changed as well over the years.

“The faces that were here when I got here that aren’t anymore are the ones I really miss,” she said with a cracking voice.

STAYING BUSY—The 61-year-old won’t be bored at home after her last day July 31. She and her husband of 42 years, Les have 10 grandchil- dren.

“There will be lots of grandkids time,” she said.

Davenport is also involved as an adult leader in the local Cub Scouts, a role she took on when her son was involved and continues now with her grandsons.

She is also active in the Rockdale Band Boosters, helping out with fund-raisers for the Big Blue Band in which some of her grandchildren are members.

TAKING AWAY—Davenport has made many friends during her years as postmaster and they are what she will miss the most.

“ From my first day there the people of Milano have been wonderful. They allowed me to be a part of their town and they became family to me,” she said. “It has been a pleasure to serve as the Postmaster for such a wonderful community.”

RETIREMENT PARTY—A “come-and-go” reception in honor of Davenport’s retirement will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 29 at the Milano Civic Center, 120 W. Avenue E.


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