Nevada County People: Mr. Postman hangs up his bag |

Nevada County People: Mr. Postman hangs up his bag

For 30 years, Tom Turner (pictured above) had a wonderful time going postal.

From the Los Angeles suburbs to western Nevada County, he still knows his way around a post office. And he still knows how to bring the mail.

“The job is what you bring to it. For me personally, it was great,” said Turner, who retired in August after 30 years with the United States Postal Service, the last eight years at the Nevada City office.

Turner, a lanky 60-year-old, grew up in West Covina, on the baseball diamonds, dreaming of being the next Mickey Mantle.

While he never grew up to be a clone of “The Commerce Comet,” being a postal carrier met with his stamp of approval.

“I don’t know what it is: Little kids see us, and they just run out. We’re like a daily Santa Claus,” Turner said.

But he might have ended up stuffing basketball hoops instead of mailboxes.

Turner served in the U.S. Army as a military policeman in Berlin in 1968-69. While stationed at the Andrews Barracks with the 287th Military Police company, he caught the eye of a basketball coach with the local Army team.

For a kid whose high school coach played for legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, “It was the best duty.”

For a year, Turner toured Germany with the Army basketball squad. He then signed on to play with the volleyball and softball teams.

He worked as an MP at places like Checkpoint Charlie. Berlin was magical during that time.

“It had this vibe and energy to it. It’s where the world looked to at the time.”

Looking back, Turner said he’s enjoyed it all.

“We do miss him,” said Nevada City postmaster Don Cheeseman. He was one of the best.”

Turner’s old workstation still has his name on it at the Nevada City post office.

“I know it sounds like a total cliché, but I just love people,” he said of his old job. “You bump into people, and it just makes the day go faster.”

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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