Rector Postmaster Retiring

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Rector postmaster James Marshall distributes mail into patrons' boxes.(TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

Rector postmaster James Marshall is retiring Thursday after having served the area for four years, but his journey to retirement started long before he arrived at the local facility.

Born to Herman "H.W." and Marjorie Marshall in 1956 at Pine Bluff, Marshall grew up thinking he wanted nothing to do with the postal service. "My father was a postal inspector and we moved around quite a bit," Marshall said. He earned a baseball scholarship and spent a year in an Iowa college, but decided to join the Navy.

"I got to travel to places I never would have otherwise had the chance -- Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, to name a few," Marshall said. He said one of his favorite memories was climbing Mount Fuji with a Navy buddy. After five years in the Navy, he left and joined the postal service in Chico, Calif., in December of 1983 at the age of 27 as a distribution clerk. His duties started at 3 a.m., managing packages coming and going, picking up trucks and sorting through parcels.

From Chico he went to Point Arena, Calif. "I liked being near the ocean and was pushing myself toward a small postmaster position," Marshall said, but the tide turned. His dad got sick and he decided to transfer home. He transferred to Jonesboro in 1986, because it was the closest opening to his dad in Cape Girardeau.

He graced many Arkansas post offices acting as postmaster or as a stand-in until one was found. Starting in 1989 he worked in Cash, Smithville, Ravenden, Tuckerman, Corning, Mammoth Spring, Black Rock, Lepanto, Marmaduke and finally landed in Rector. Marshall lives in Paragould.

He said the thing he enjoys about Rector the most "is the people, you get to meet a lot of people and I've made a lot of friends here."

As postmaster Marshall is involved in all aspects of the office, "instead of just one department," and has seen the face of the post office change throughout his years. "Computers are our anchor now, we do everything on them -- invoices, tracking, etc.," he said.

His decision is based on the fact he's seen too many people retire after they were unable to do anything in their post-working years. He plans to do a lot of fishing, some fundraising and a lot of traveling. "My mom's out in Arizona, so I'll be there for her 91st birthday in June," Marshall said.

He'll also be spending more time with his wife Debra, who he married in 1988, and will work on building a shop with his son Bradley, 22.

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