Genoa postal clerk prepares to retire |

Genoa postal clerk prepares to retire

by Kurt Hildebrand

After spending a dozen years as Genoa’s Senior Postal Clerk, Jimmy DeJong will retire May 25 with 35 years working for the U.S. Postal Service.

DeJong, 54, was the first person to occupy the second career position at the post office, which has been in continuous operation since 1852. He came to work at the Genoa Post Office in 1993 from Lake Tahoe where he had been a supervisor.

Born and raised in San Diego, DeJong cut his teeth in the working world when he got a job as a dishwasher at Denny’s when he was 14.

He rose through the ranks and by the time he was 19, he was manager of the restaurant.

“I got tired of working Sundays,” he said of the career move that would change his life. “All my friends were off on Sundays and I always had to work.”

So he went to the San Diego Civil Service Commission and applied for every job they had.

“The post office was the first to call me,” he said. “I liked it so much that I stuck with it.”

DeJong remained in San Diego until 1985 when he decided it was time for a change. He moved to Genoa and transferred to the South Lake Tahoe post office, where he eventually became a supervisor.

But while working at Lake Tahoe, he was getting his mail from Genoa Postmaster Emmy Dombrowski.

“I lived down here and commuted to the Lake,” he said. “I told Emmy that if there is ever a career vacancy down here I would love it.

DeJong has been in Genoa for a lot of changes over a dozen years, including moving into the new post office near Candy Dance Lane from its location next to Genoa Store in 1999.

“The most interesting thing I’ve seen is that at the old Post Office I used to watch parents with children waiting for the school bus and now those same children are mothers coming into the post office,” he said. “I’m not calling it retirement, I’m calling it rewirement.”

The one thing he will miss?

“Our customers, period. No ifs, ands or buts about it.”

One customer Jimmy will get to see every day is his wife of 21 years, Tracey, who was one of his postal customers at the Lake.

DeJong said he’s not planning on leaving the town he’s called home for 20 years.

“I’m going to take a couple of months off and regroup and then pursue my handyman business,” he said. “I’m working on my fifth fixer-upper of a house, so I’ve been doing that all my life.”