Longtime mail carrier hands off postal torch on Gales Creek route

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Gene Nosack spent 50 years delivering mail in the Gales Creek area. He retired Nov. 1.When Earl “Gene” Nosack started as a substitute postal carrier in 1962 at age 25, he didn’texpect to spend the next 50 years ensuring “the mail must go through.”

But that’s how it turned out. Nosack ended up liking postal work because it was interesting and fast-paced, he said.

After nearly five decades bringing Gales Creek and Timber residents their care packages, Christmas cards, birthday messages, wedding invitations, college acceptance letters, test results and mail from grandma, Nosack retired this month.

For the first 30 years of his career Nosack worked as a post office window clerk, where he helped people mail everything from bills to fertilized chicken eggs.

Most recently, Nosack drove the 76-mile route through timber and farmland that starts in Forest Grove near Forest Gale Heights, goes out to Gales Creek, winds up Timber Road and over Highway 26, then back down to the Gales Creek valley.

The route took him up to 1,200-foot elevations—a challenge in winter, especially with heavy snow.

While snowplows kept main roads clear, rural roads were neglected, Nosack said. A couple times he couldn’t make it to the mailboxes — either because snow blocked the roads or because mailboxes were broken off by the force of snow flying from passing plows - so he had to turn around and leave the mail at the post office.

Once he was using a rented car with broken four-wheel drive and got stuck on Timber Road off Highway 6 in the coast range. Nobody passed by for a few hours. Finally some Banks firefighters showed up and helped him out.

Through the years, he learned which pets were nice and which weren’t, and got to know the people on his route.

Nosack attended Forest Grove High School with the parents of a few locals he delivers to now, such as Amy Zamudio, who runs the Gales Creek Store.

Zamudio first learned about the option and process of adding a Village Post Office to her store — a U.S. Postal Service option for rural communities — through Nosack.

“Everybody out here knows him,” Zamudio said. “I really miss him already.”

Now that Nosack is retired, he plans to catch up on things he’s been putting off, such as spending more time with his big family. He also plans some fishing trips, which will allow him to enjoy one of the things he liked most about his job — driving in the countryside, enjoying the trees and the seasons.

“People need not get too upset about working all their life — just smell the roses as they go along,” said Nosack.

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