FARMINGTON — Dignitaries, former postal workers, business people and community members gathered Thursday, May 26, to bid farewell to retiring postmaster Susan Jones and welcome new postmaster Lloyd Keast.
“The customers of Farmington and the Farmington Post Office family will miss Susan tremendously,” Lisa Hamby, manager of Post Office operations said. “Susan is a very well-rounded Postmaster who always excels in everything she is challenged to undertake. Susan is a natural leader with a big heart, a beautiful voice, and the ability to make people want to follow under her lead. She is smart, compassionate, caring, daring and authentic.
“We are all so incredibly proud of all the accomplishments she has made over the past 42 years. It is not a time for sadness, it is a time to celebrate the retirement of Susan Jones, the first female Postmaster in Farmington.”
Incoming Postmaster Keast is a veteran of the United States Air Force and began his postal career in 1993, working in Skowhegan before holding Postmaster positions in Norridgewock and Pittsfield, Hamby said before administering the oath of office. From 2006 to 2022 he worked with the district leadership team, she noted.
“I have worked directly with Lloyd for five years and can attest to his key strength which is the management of people, development of people and problem solving and decision making,” Hamby said. “All fantastic qualities which will help both the employees and customers of Farmington.”
Keast said he saw a lot of old friends, faces he hadn’t seen in a while. “The sheriff and I go way back, I was a police officer in Madison a very long time ago,” he said.
Simple economics, mathematics made the decision to change jobs, he said. Keast lives in Cornville, has his roots there, he noted.
“It was ridiculously expensive to drive to Portland almost every day for 16 years – it was 98 miles one way,” Keast said. The district office had fantastic reports from Farmington, a testament to Jones and the others working in the Post Office here, he added.
“When I drive into Farmington I see vibrance, I see business, I see beautiful streets, I see a beautiful college,” he noted. “I see a lot of things that are incredible.”
Keast said he would be there for business and residential customers. “You can’t sustain a Post Office without customers,” he noted.
Jones said the only thing she didn’t prepare as part of the celebration was her speech since she probably wouldn’t have used it anyway. There are three was to give a speech – the way you think you are going to say it, the way you are going to say it, and then afterwards the way you thought you should have said it, she noted.
“I am going to speak from my heart, that always seems to work best for me,” Jones said. “The installation of Lloyd and the de-installation of me is a rarity in the Postal Service. We don’t remember a time when that has ever happened where someone is coming in and going out at the same time.”
“I wanted to have a celebration to get people out to see each other,” Jones said. “It has been a long, hard few years at the Post Office. We have had to adjust, change things, had to fix things we didn’t know were broken [during COVID-19].
“I am thrilled people came out. It means a lot to be supported. I have loved my career all the way up to this day. I love working for the Post Office.
“I don’t think there could have been a better fit for me. Growing up I wanted to be a Postmaster.”
Farmington is the best little town, Jones said. There is consistency here, especially in the downtown, she added.
“I loved working with the businesses,” Jones noted. “It is important to be part of the community and I loved that.”
Andrew Shattuck and Susune Terese entertained with their ukuleles and singing to begin the program. The duo has been very active with organizing SummerFest activities – an event Jones has also had prominent parts in.
Retired Belgrade Lakes Postmaster Dexter Bridges, dressed as Uncle Sam, sang the national anthem with many attendees singing along.
Students from Foothills Christian Academy sang. Representative Scott Landry and State Senator Russell Black presented Jones with a legislative sentiment.
The portrait of Jones which will hang in the Post Office lobby was revealed. Post Office employees paid for the portrait created by Jaime Lynn.
“She’s the only woman Postmaster, the only one smiling,” Hamby said.
Pastor Steve Grubbs gave the benediction after which Rob Geisser performed with his bagpipe. Refreshments were then served and an open house held in the Post Office lobby from 12-3 p.m.
Keast became the seventh Postmaster for the Farmington Post Office.
“I can’t wait to get to meet all of you, to meld with you,” he said.