Submitted by Jacquie Stumbo
Letha Kisamore of Seneca Rocks signed her first contract with the U.S. Postal Service for rural mail delivery on March 13, 1971, and is still delivering it (mail) on that same route today. On May 1, the children of Kisamore held an 80th birthday party in her honor at the Clinton Hedrick Community Building in Riverton.
Due to the fact that Kisamore would be delivering many of the invitations herself, her children chose to forego making it a surprise party. They did, however, surprise their mother by recognizing her for 51 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Postal Service.
Since Kisamore is considered a “contract” employee and would not be acknowledged by the U.S. Government. They spoke with Michael Cattlerton, postmaster in Franklin, who gave them a lovely certificate of appreciation to present to their mother “commending her for 51 years of service.”
Mail delivery was a tradition in Kisamore’s family. Her maternal grandfather, John Ira Bennett, delivered the mail on horseback nearly a century ago. He (Bennett), eventually handed the reins over to his son-in-law, Cam Lambert, who was Kisamore’s father.
Lambert delivered the mail on horseback for several years himself before he was finally able to purchase an old Jeep. He was well known for handing out chewing gum to children who anxiously waited at their mailboxes.
When Lambert suffered a stroke, Kisamore delivered the mail for him as a substitute driver until his contract expired. It was then, she signed her own contract.
The original motto of the U.S. Postal Service is “Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” but the family believes their mother’s motto would go more like, “Neither five inches of rain, nor three feet of snow, nor icy roads, that no one should be on, nor the flood of 1985, nor the Derecho of 2012, nor many flat tires can keep Letha from delivering the mail.”
Anita, Kisamore’s daughter, calculated that her mother drives approximately 50 miles a day six days a week. Kisamore’s route begins at the Riverton Post Office. Then she travels through Roots Run, Monkeytown, Bland Hills and Germany Valley. From there, she proceeds on U. S. Rt. 33 to Riverton and then to Bennett Gap, Simoda and back to Riverton. This would add up to 800,000 miles of delivering mail over the course of 51 years.
In addition to delivering the mail, Kisamore stays active doing all her own yard work and gardening. At 80 years old, her daughters say “she is in better shape” than they are.
Kisamore has been a widow for 14 years. She is a mother of three, Anita Davis, Jacquie Stumbo, and Kevin Kisamore. She has six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and two more on the way.
Some people mistook the celebration as a retirement party, but Kisamore has no plans of retiring anytime soon.