LOSTINE After 57 years of work in the Lostine Post Office, 77-year-old Muriel Jones has announced her retirement effective July 31.
Jones says she would have been willing to work longer, but after viewing her retirement plan along with a bonus the U.S. government has offered her to retire, she decided the time was right.
Another factor, according to Jones, is her belief that the USPS plans to halve the hours the tiny post office will be open by the end of 2014.
Muriel Jones began working at the citys post office in 1955 as a clerk when the citys mail center was located on the same west side of Highway 82 between the Lostine Tavern and whats now property owned by Norton Welding. In 1958 the post office was moved to its current site about one block south of the previous location, and in 1980 Jones was officially named Postmaster.
She says the best and worst changes shes seen during the past 57 years are one and the same: the computer. She admits entering into the computer age saves her time but, raised in an era without computers, Jones says the learning curve was steep and sometimes taxing.
One of the most difficult tasks shes encountered during her lengthy tenure has been training people from scratch to take her place whenever she needs time off.
Replacing Jones at the window in the Lostine Post Office will be Bernice Lathrop, who has assisted Jones for many years.
Jones doesnt know what retirement will bring. Im really going to miss my customers, she says.