Saying so long

Published 8:12 am Thursday, July 8, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Max Wright didn't think much about retiring, until he received his eligibility notice last November. After that it kept coming to mind.
Friday was Wright's last day to walk into the courthouse and deliver mail along with his walk through the village streets. "There are a lot of good people on this route," he said. "They treated me good. I will miss it -- for awhile."
His normal routine was to sort the mail into the little cubicles for the first hour or so and hit the street by 8:30 or 9. He was done by 4 p.m., adding mail from the truck to his mail bag.
Sorting has changed through the years, as letters now come sorted to the route, so he just takes that bin with him, sorting magazines and newspapers.
Wright will continue to farm as he has during the first 34 years of part-time work for the post office and the last three years as a full-timer.
Max and his brother Richard continue to switch roles.
While still in Cassopolis High School, the Assistant Post Master Fred Baker, "came looking for me," said Max. "I hadn't even graduated," which he did in 1967.
But after just a year, Max was drafted and off to Vietnam. His brother Richard took over his job, so when Max returned he stayed on part time and farmed. Three years ago when Richard retired, Max took over the "city route one."
When he returned home, Max also went on a blind date. "We hit it off," he said. He and Kathy have been married since 1970. She works in Dowagiac in physical therapy at Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital.
The Wrights' brick Georgian rest on the hill at the corner of Glenwood and Dutch Settlement rds. by their farm land.
The Wrights' youngest presented them their first grandchild on Thursday, July 1st, Emmaline Jean, "Emma" born to Melissa and Mike Bonczynisk.
The hardest task Max and Kathy have had to go through is when the son Aaron was killed three summers ago while in the Air Force in a motorcycle accident.
Fellow worker Patrick LaPorte remembers Max being so strong at that time.
They recalled when they came into the office and it was flooded. Some ran out to borrow shop vacs, as three inches of water even extended into the lobby after ice had melted.
When the tornados when through Cass it took out the power in the post office for four days. "We worked with flashlights and lanterns sorting, Max recalled.
But with the tragic and sad times, they also remember so many laughs. "Max was the brunt of so many short jokes, " said LaPorte, like "we need to tie a rope on him to find him in the snow."
He also remembers when the vehicle he used on his motor route broke down. Max picked him up in his Oldsmobile and drove him around. "He was a rural carrier for one day," said LaPorte. "We didn't get home until six."
All his fellow workers agreed, Max will be missed.