Markleeville’s postmaster hanging up her stamps
After 25 years and nine months as Markleeville Postmaster Margaret Daniels retired on Thursday.
Margaret was born in Toronto and moved to the United States when she was 14 years old. She has been working for the United States Postal Service for 35 years. She recalls the day she walked into the lobby of the Gardnerville Post Office to collect her mail when Postmaster Dale Bohlman, nephew of Hoke, Eloise and Buddy Barrett, handed her a yellow application card and said: “Sign this. I want you to come and work for me.”
She took the required test and became a part-time flexible clerk in Gardnerville where she worked for 10 years. At the Gardnerville office Margaret had the opportunity to learn the complete operation. In 1986 she was promoted to Postmaster in Markleeville.
Her first day of work in our community was Oct. 31, 1986. She arrived unprepared for Halloween. Her husband, Dennis, came to the rescue with candy.
As Margaret reflects on her years in Markleeville she asks: “How could anyone be so fortunate?”
Every morning she sees something different on the beautiful drive from Carson Valley. On early winter mornings, she has often been the first to drive through the fresh snow and has gazed in awe at the silent, white loveliness. She has deep affection for the residents of our town; she has watched us grow up and grow old.
Clint Celio came in to the post office while she and I were talking.
“I’ve known you since you were 12!” Margaret said to him in her exuberant way.
She feels an ownership of the post office, evident in the hours she works after closing, and in the many times she has driven mail down to Minden and even Reno to ensure its timely delivery. She tells the story of being stopped by the highway patrol as she was speeding along with a local’s important documents to meet a deadline. The officer let her go with a warning. While I was at the post office, Wanda Coyan came in apologetically with a big bulk mailing half an hour before closing.
Margaret laughed good-naturedly, taking it all in stride. Just after closing when Ellen Martin waved a yellow card at the door, Margaret gladly reopened and gave Ellen her package and the two of them enjoyed a chat.
In 2002 Margaret received the Snowshoe Thompson Award, given for performance above and beyond the call of duty: “Postmaster Margaret Daniels was recognized for her outstanding public service efforts during the six-day power outage. The town closed, but not the Post Office, even though it was only 38 degrees inside the building…(District Manager, Johnray Eglehoff).
Margaret has had many special cancellation stations for various events in our area; the Death Ride Cancellation is known internationally. In 2005 Margaret received the Pacific Area Top Performer Award for outstanding performance. Markleeville was the top small office in the Pacific area with plus 104 percent over revenue goal.
In 1995 Margaret was diagnosed with cancer and was away from the post office for 15 months. Margaret speaks of the tremendous support of Jerry de Paoli, her boss at that time and of the National League of Postmasters of which she has been a member for 25 years. In 1996 the Postal Service selected Margaret as its representative at the unveiling of the breast cancer stamp during the Relay for Life event in Reno.
Margaret was a keynote speaker. In 2008 the cancer came back and she learned that it was incurable but treatable. She takes an active part in her healing process. To the conventional ways of treating her cancer she adds alternative methods, including taking phytochemicals which, she feels, have enabled her body to withstand chemotherapy.
Margaret’s service in our community includes membership in: Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library and Historical Society. She was also a State Fair representative. In 1995 and 2007 Margaret was named California Postmaster of the Year. In 2007 Margaret was named National Postmaster of the Year. Other local and national honors and achievements are too numerous to mention.
“God has blessed my life and I would like to return that blessing by serving Habitat for Humanity as my retirement goal,” she said.
After her retirement she and Dennis will be flying to Florida to go to Disney World with their son and his wife, Craig and Katie and granddaughters, Maddy and Sophie.
Our love and best wishes go with you Margaret. Thank you for all you have done for us.
There will be a potluck lunch in honor of Margaret in the Library Park noon Aug. 8 to which everybody is invited.