Peggy Thompson says good-bye to Cerro Gordo and an awesome career.
By Doris Elmore
Peggy Thompson of Sadorus, postmaster for the Cerro Gordo Post Office for eight years, will retire on April 30. However, her retirement comes after 32 ½ years with the postal department.
Peggy is a delightful woman to interview and has mixed emotions about retiring, but she made her mind up that she wants to spend more time with her mom, grandchildren and family. It is great to talk to Peggy and listen to how she has loved her career and the people she has met along the way, co-workers and customers. She is one person who has truly put her “stamp” on the job.
When Peggy was in junior high and high school, she delivered papers. There must have been something about that job that stuck with her, because she ended up working for the postal system. When she was 18, her husband’s sister Jill ask her if she wanted to go with her to apply for a job with the postal system. Peggy stated, “I wasn’t busy so I said sure, why not.” They took the postal exam and got a job. This was the beginning of a budding career.
Peggy began serving as a city carrier in Champaign in 1988 just delivering mail. She said now you have to scan all packages. She transferred to become a clerk because they told her she needed to work as a clerk first in order to be a postmaster. She did this for five years, then worked at 5-6 offices as a fill-in postmaster. She knew this would assist her in getting her own post office. Her dream was fulfilled when she was appointed postmaster of her hometown of Sadorus in 2005. She worked there until 2013.
She was asked if she would like to be postmaster of Cerro Gordo in 2013 and she took the position. At Cerro Gordo she also oversees LaPlace and Cisco. They have no postmasters, just clerks. If they have questions they go to Peggy.
When Peggy first started there were no computers so work is much easier now. “Having zoom meetings during COVID has been really handy,” says Peggy.
A highlight of her time at Cerro Gordo was on June 18, 2018 when the town celebrated “Date Meets Zip Station.” The zip code of Cerro Gordo is 61818 and this only happens every 100 years. Peggy says this was a fun time for all. Peggy had this special sign made for the CG Post Office in commemoration of the special event.
One of the interesting traits Peggy has adapted is trying to match stamps to what she thinks people will like. For instance, when someone comes into the post office and wants to purchase a book of stamps, she will lay out different books. She usually begins with what she thinks they will want, then she shows them other designs. She said as a general rule they look them over and return to the first one they saw. I think this is an interesting trait.
Peggy said the highlights of her career are the promotions she has received. She said there are always small incidents of one sort or another, but none have been bad.
The only “bad” experience she recalled was being bitten by a dog when was filling in as carrier in Villa Grove. She even stopped delivering mail a short time after due to this experience. It made her afraid of dogs for a while, even their own dog.
Peggy says she loves working with people who come into the post office and her great staff. In Cerro Gordo there is Peggy, Linda Ash, Seth Maxwell, rural carrier, and Phoebe Baker, sub rural carrier. When Peggy “leaves the building,” Linda will have temporary detail as Officer in Charge. Peggy says she is leaving the post office in very capable hands.
Staff in LaPlace is Sue Crawford who works 6 days a week, 2 hrs. a day; and Nikki Hagerty. Nikki works noon-4 p.m. 5 days a week and 2 hrs. on Saturday.
Peggy has been married to husband Jim for 44 years. He is a semi-retired plumber of his own business, Thompson Plumbing. They have two sons James II and Joel. James and his wife Katherine have three children Hayley, 10, Nataley, 6, and Jameson, 3. Her mother is Mary and all live in Sadorus.
When ask what she was going to do with her “extra” time she answered that she is going to clean her house from attic to basement, but most of all spend more time visiting with her mom, grandchildren and family. Maybe Peggy and Jim will do some traveling, but basically, she just wants to be more available to do what she wants to do.
Peggy leaves us with this message: “This has been a wonderful career. I have been blessed to work with great people and have made many friends in my customers and co-workers. I thank them all for their friendship. I was welcomed to Cerro Gordo with open arms and leave them with my blessings.”