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When Everett Collier graduated from Bluffton College 1975 as a speech and communication major, he thought he'd become a teacher. Then he met the post office.
On Aug. 1 he retired as Bluffton postmaster, a position he's held for near 13 years. His postal career goes back even further. In January 1981 he became a PTF - part-time flexible carrier. Later he graduated to the position of PTF clerk. Eventually he served as officer in charge of the Dunkirk, Ohio, 45836 post office. From 1993 to 1998 he was postmaster of Forest, Ohio 45843. In 1998 his postal commuting trips ended. He started his postmaster career at Bluffton, Ohio, 45817.
He replaced Mike Hoehn, who had served as Bluffton postmaster and had accepted a similar position in Celina (45822). With Collier's departure, the officer in charge at the Bluffton PO is now Rick Schuablin, Columbus Grove native and Grove's postmaster (45830).
The list of postal items arriving at 45817 during Collier's tenure is an interesting one. It ranges from the usual love letters, Social Security checks, IRS forms, to chickens, ducks, turkeys, bees, crickets, grasshoppers and possibly rabbits.
This writer adds mosquitoes to the list, as the writer's brother-in-law once sent the writer's oldest daughter mosquito larvae as a supposed science experiment. Certainly Icon readers can add other exotic items to the list of extra-curricular material that passed through the Bluffton post office since 1998.
Collier explains that fowl mailed via the post office usually are mailed priority or overnight the same day they hatch. Bees, however, take the trip in the postal truck at anytime during their life. Sometimes they escape from their packages, as Collier relates about one of his more unpleasant postal experiences.
"One thing I've learned while serving as Bluffton postmaster is that I've come to appreciate the Bluffton community," he said. Adding that in a small community, the post office often becomes a meeting place for lots of people.
"I'll miss the regulars," he said, as he listed a half-dozen persons who generally stop by the post office nearly every day. "Yeah, I'll miss goofing off with the patrons. I've met some real characters here."
He said that he won't miss having his telephone number listed in the post office lobby. He's experience late-night calls from the Bluffton police when it appeared that the night delivery postal box was stuffed too full to accept more mail, for example.
"That's one thing I made certain that I removed before I left," he said, referring to his phone number.
Although retired, Collier doesn't appear to be without anything to do. He recently auditioned for a play at Amil Tellers Theatre in Lima. He hopes to do more biking and says that some traveling is in the plans for he and his wife, Susan.
Originally established as Croghan in Putnam County
Daniel L. Goble, 1837
Erastus Thompson, 1846
William McDermot, 1852
Changed to Allen County by 1854
Erasmus Thompson, 1854
Miles W. Vance, 1856
Erastus Thompson, 1861
Changed to Bluffton on Aug. 7, 1861
Erastus Thompson, 1861
Jacob Moser, 1864
Robert D. Murray, 1865
Abram Long, 1866
Andrew Hauenstein, 1868
Edwin Edsall, 1871
John Martin, 1871
Andrew Hauenstein, 1877
Milton G. Smith, 1885
John H. Patterson, 1889
William P. Bentley, 1890
Henry L. Romey, 1894
Russell B. Day, 1898
George H. Lewis, 1907
Gibson Locher, 1916
Maurice M. Murray, 1924
Edward R. Reichenbach, 1934
Ralph Stearns, 1956
Woodrow W. Little, 1965
Donald I. Gudakunst, officer in charge, 1975
Albert Callihan, 1976
Roger E. Neal, officer in charge, 1983
David L. Boisvert, 1984
Robert A. Schaefer, officer in charge, 1986
Cheryl L. Stacy, officer in charge, 1987
Mark D. Keisay, officer in charge, 1987
James A. Ribley, officer in charge, 1987
Jerry L. Burkholder, 1987
Gary S. Levitt, officer in charge, 1991
Barbar A. Spearman, postmaster, 1992
Michael R. Hoehn, 1995
Margaret Wray, 1998
Everett G. Collier, 1998