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South Deerfield postman retires after 29 years of service

  • Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)

    Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m
    (Recorder/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)

    Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m
    (Recorder/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)
  • Dennis Churchill of Greenfield delivers the mail around South Deerfield. In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)

SOUTH DEERFIELD — For 29 years, Dennis Churchill tirelessly walked up and down the streets of South Deerfield, carrying bundles of letters to be delivered to the neighborhood and greeting residents.

The humble postman is retiring from his South Deerfield job after nearly three decades of service.

In his honor, the Deerfield Arts Bank at 3 Sugarloaf St., is hosting a retirement party on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m.

All South Deerfield residents are welcome and encouraged to bring main courses, salads and desserts to the vegetarian potluck.

“I’m quite honored they want to do something like that. Not every mailman gets that treatment when they retire,” Churchill said.

In 1984, Churchill, originally from Shelburne Falls, decided to take the test to be a mail delivery person for the U.S. Postal Service. He enjoyed the outdoors and the physical activity and so the job seemed perfect.

His first full-time route was South Deerfield — the City 1 route — that covers the main business area in town. It includes Sugarloaf, North Main, Conway, Pleasant streets and Kelleher Drive, Captain Lathrop Drive and Crestview Drive.

While many bigger neighborhoods never notice their mailmen or forget to care, the South Deerfield people welcomed Churchill, making his 10-mile daily trek pleasant.

Churchill, 64, loved crisscrossing the streets of South Deerfield over the years because of the people who waited on their doorsteps for the mail.

Some neighbors gave him bags of food from their gardens or simply smiled and conversed with him.

“It’s a nice community. South Deerfield felt welcoming to me,” Churchill said. “People were glad to see me come.”

Churchill has lived through many changes in the U.S. Postal Service as email changed the way people communicate. As letters declined, packages increased as more people shopped online. Four years ago, the South Deerfield office expanded to include routes in rural Deerfield and Sunderland. And now some small businesses are serving as part-time post offices.

“There’s something nice about getting something in the mail. People looked forward to it,” Churchill said. “The whole communication system has changed so much.”

Despite the changes, Churchill never felt threatened or insecure about his future employment.

For now, Churchill doesn’t have any plans for retirement except kicking off his shoes and relaxing after a long career on his feet.

Though retiring is a difficult choice for Churchill, he said it’s his time to go.

“It’s hard to do because I love the job,” Churchill said. “I’ll miss the job and the people.”

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268 On Twitter, follow @RecorderKatMcK

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