After more than 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service – the last 14 of them in Escalon – Laura Tornquist has punched the time clock for the final time.
She officially retired on Friday, July 27, working her last shift at the local Post Office.
“I started in housekeeping,” she explained of her first position with the postal service.
Her route to the post office was a bit unusual, as it was her 4-H leader who asked if she had ever considered that as a career choice. Though she hadn’t up until that point, the idea intrigued Tornquist enough to look into it. Three decades later, she knows she made the right decision.
“I started in 1985 and it has gone very fast,” she admitted. “Just keep on and before you know it, it’s time.”
Retirement will likely see her do some traveling and spending more time with her grandchildren.
After a brief stop in housekeeping, Tornquist started as a rural route sub in Hilmar and then moved on to Turlock as a fulltime letter carrier. From there, it was on to work as a clerk in Atwater, then Sonora and finally making the move to Escalon.
“All those moves were my choice,” Tornquist added.
She has lived in Escalon since she started here in 2004 and she is proud and pleased to call both the post office and the community home.
“This office in particular is not comparable,” she said of Escalon being the best she has worked in. “Ken (Crandal) is a great Postmaster.”
She said there is a sense of camaraderie at the local post office that she enjoys and will definitely miss.
“It’s a hard job,” she added. “You have to want the job.”
For his part, Postmaster Ken Crandal said Tornquist filled many roles at the local post office, from unloading packages to selling stamps across the counter, checking inventory and sorting mail.
“I think physically, carrying the mail was the hardest,” Tornquist said. “Sometimes the clerking was difficult as well.”
Crandal said, for many, she was the face of the local office.
“Very professional, she adds to the efficiency and professionalism in the office,” Crandal noted. “She has been nothing short of a blessing to me and to the postal service and the customers of Escalon. She’s a tremendous asset.”
Fellow employees feted Tornquist with snacks, flowers and a cake to mark her final day.
“She’s my go to,” added Supervisor Ritchie Taa. “I’m going to miss her.”