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Peabody postmaster looks forward to career change

Staff writer

After 27 years as a United States Postal employee, 18 of them as Peabody Postmaster, Jay Christensen spent Friday in the post office lobby visiting with patrons and customers. The position of full-time postmaster was eliminated at Peabody and Christensen’s last day on the job was Thursday. He turned in his badge and keys, and all that was left was saying goodbye to the people of Peabody.

Christensen’s fellow postal employees provided a reception table laden with cake, cookies, muffins, and lemonade. A steady stream of customers came and went during the morning hours to tell Christensen goodbye and wish him well.

Peabody’s post office hours will be trimmed again. The post office has been open for six hours and 15 minutes a day during the week and that time will be cut to six hours, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Marion Post Office will be responsible for Peabody for the time being and after some evaluations are completed, a decision will be made about permanent staffing. In the meantime, postal clerk Leslie LaFoy will fill in at the window and keep the operation running.

Christensen said that when his position was eliminated he had the option of applying for a spot in another town, but it would have meant at least a one hour drive to and from his home in Marion. Moving to another town was not a consideration because he and his family want to stay in the Marion community.

“I decided to take the government up on its early retirement offer,” he said. “The term is ‘discontinued service retirement.’ Those of us in positions that are being eliminated had the option of taking that offer and I decided that would be the best for my situation.”

Christensen recently completed classes and passed the exam to become a real estate agent and has signed on with Heerey Real Estate in Marion. He also has an interest in home construction and remodeling and renovation. He and his wife have built two homes and he enjoys the satisfaction of doing that kind of work.

“We pretty much did everything except the foundation work on the home we live in now,” he said. “We also had some help with plumbing and electrical systems, but we did all the rest. It was a rewarding experience and I might like to get into that kind of work again.”

Christensen was an easygoing public servant who was eager to help and was rarely, if ever, without a smile.

Asked about his upbeat attitude, he said, “Well, you know, I have this philosophy about being a government employee. There are so many things we just can’t do anything about — so many rules and regulations and government controls that I figure if there are small things I can do to make dealing with the post office a better experience, I should try to do those things. Putting on a smile and being pleasant and helpful doesn’t really require much effort, but people usually respond well to it.”

After serving the Peabody community for nearly two decades, Christensen said he has enjoyed his time here.

“It’s a great community. I’ve made lots of friends here and I will miss everyone,” he said. “I love the town, the folks that come in here and visit, and the people I work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be.”

Last modified Feb. 12, 2015

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