NORTH SALT LAKE - The price of stamps may have changed a lot in the last few decades, but people haven’t.
Russ Muir, who has manned the North Salt Lake Post Office for the last 22 years, is retiring at the end of this month. An open house in his honor will be held from 2-4 p.m. on May 30, giving Muir an opportunity to say goodbye to longtime customers he has bonded with over the years.
“You learn a lot about people when you work in a post office,” said Muir. “I meet a lot of people every day, and I’m on a first name basis with many of them. I know the parents of many people who have children of their own now.”
Muir has worked in the Davis County postal system for 40 years, briefly working in Layton in 1973 before moving down to the Bountiful area. He worked at the Bountiful office first, then headed to the now-closed Woods Cross office before moving on to North Salt Lake. Both offices are considered to be branches of the Bountiful Office.
“When I first started in Bountiful, a stamp was 13 cents, and it was 23 cents to send an international letter,” he said. “Now, it’s 49 cents a stamp, and international mail is $1.15.”
Despite the changes, the kindness of people has remained much the same over the years. From behind the counter, he’s seen decades of local residents show kindness to one another.
“There have been so many times when customers have offered to pay postage for someone in need,” said Muir. “They’ll just say, ‘Here, you take this. Have a nice day.’”
He felt that support in his own life when his wife died from bone cancer in 2012.
“When my wife passed away, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of customers,” he said. “So many of them sent anonymous sympathy cards and gifts. It was wonderful, and so very appreciated.”
Working so closely with people over the years has also offered plenty of opportunity for lighter moments.
“I once had a customer come in on a Friday and ask when a package he was mailing would arrive,” he said. “I told him that it would normally be the following Monday, but since that Monday was a national holiday it would be the following Tuesday. He responded with: ‘It’s just going to California. Is it a national holiday in California?’”
Even after his retirement, Muir plans to keep working with people. He played the organ at the dedication of the Bountiful LDS Temple, has performed on the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ five times, and plays the organ each Sunday for his ward. He also plans on performing volunteer work, either at the temple or other area organizations.
“There are plenty of places to serve in the valley,” he said.
Wherever he ends up, there will probably still be plenty of familiar faces.
“Before my wife died, when we would go out to shop or eat, we’d ask ourselves how long it would take for someone to recognize me,” said Muir. He laughed. “Usually, it was about 15 seconds or less.”
The North Salt Lake Post Office is located at 345 N. Highway 89. For more information, call 801-292-6712.