A native of Harrisburg, PA, Daniels began her government career during college when she worked part-time as a secretary at the Pentagon, but it wasn’t until years later that she began her postal career. She was a stay-at-home mom when her husband lost his job and she read about working for the postal service. One day, she asked her letter carrier, Leroy Hawn, if he needed help. He needed a sub, so Daniels took the civil service exam to become a sub for rural route seven in Columbia City.
After subbing in Columbia City, she had a dual appointment in Columbia City and Fort Wayne. She then had a dual appointment in Fort Wayne and Grabill from 1981 to 1983. She was a regular rural carrier in the Leo-Grabill area and also an Officer In Charge (OIC) in Grabill until 1986 when she was appointed Postmaster in Spencerville.
To achieve upward mobility in the USPS, employees must take training courses and details in offices with higher levels than the office where they presently work. While Postmaster at Spencerville, Daniels took Officer In Charge positions at Hamilton, South Whitley, Goshen, Warsaw and Elkhart.
Daniels lived in Fort Wayne for most of her postal career–traveling 50 miles one way to work in Goshen. However, she said she is grateful for the experiences she had and the situations she was exposed to wherever she worked.
Acting as the Officer In Charge for Churubusco’s post office for six months, Daniels was appointed Postmaster for the branch in May 2000. She and her husband, Jim, moved to a cozy Blue Lake cottage following the appointment and plan to stay at their current residence even through retirement.
With retirement, Daniels said she hopes to travel. She and Jim plan to visit their son and Margie’s sister in California in the coming months, though Christmas is going to be at the Daniels’ home this year with all seven children coming home for the holidays.
“This is the first Christmas I am going to enjoy,” she said. With hectic holiday schedules and increased mail volume, Daniels said she was always too worn out to enjoy the season.
Joking that she was “chief cook and bottle washer,” along with timekeeper, peacemaker and customer service representative, Daniels said she won’t miss the job, but she will dearly miss the customers she was able to interact with and her staff.
“I worked with a group of really nice people,” she said. “They are conscientious employees who try their best to do a good job.”
Daniels said she will especially miss her clerk Jeannine Fairchild, who introduced her to the community and helped her get acclimated when she first took over as postmaster. Noting that they had a lot of fun when working the counter together, Daniels said she and Fairchild laughed a lot to get through rough days and tough customers.
“Customers ask the silliest questions,” Daniels said, “Like, ‘Do you sell stamps?’ Of course we do!”
Although customers could push her buttons, especially when dinging the bell at the front desk, Daniels said she will miss the customers and seeing so many members of the community.
“We moved here because we love the people here,” she said, “and we plan to remain here.”
Daniels may look for a part-time job in the future–working with people, of course–but for now she wants to take a break from the hectic postal schedule and enjoy retirement.
Now back to that raccoon in the mailbox. Daniels said some people get a kick out of stuffing live cats in mailboxes and the collection box outside of the post office. However, Daniels got a bigger surprise one day when she was delivering mail to Dave Oliver on rural route seven. Mr. Oliver put a dead coon in his mailbox as a joke, she said, and stuffed the letters in between the coon’s teeth.
“Needless to say, he didn’t take collection that day.”