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February 8, 2023

Leaving his stamp: Local post office worker retires after 34 years

After 34 years at the U.S. Post Office in Watsonville, Jimmie Nartates wrapped up his career as a window clerk Monday beneath a large gold banner, “Happy Retirement.”

With signs posted about his work station by fellow workers, such as “Welcome to 7-day weekends,” and “No Work Zone,” Nartates maintained his signature warm, soft-spoken stance through his final day, dealing with the standard flurry of customers, taking in packages and letters and selling stamps.

“To me, he is the ideal team player,” Postmaster Alejandra Alvarado said. “He is always friendly and helpful and just a great co-worker. He is someone you can depend on.”

Born and raised in Watsonville, Nartates, 68, went to Linscott School, Radcliff Elementary, E.A. Hall Middle, and graduated from Watsonville High School. 

After spending three years in the U.S. Army in Germany, he returned to Watsonville and spent 12 years working at a local metal shop. Then he decided to switch over to the Post Office, which was on Union Street where Cabrillo College Watsonville Center is now. After the ‘89 Loma Prieta Earthquake rearranged scores of buildings around the Central Coast, the Post Office moved into a new building where it stands now on Main Street. 

Nartates’ first 20 years included sorting mail.

“I finally decided I’d rather have regular hours, day shifts with Saturdays and Sundays off,” he said. “I really like dealing with people; before, I hardly ever had a chance to meet them and help them directly. I’ve really enjoyed this.” 

Co-worker Garnet Joaquin said Nartates had great skills in making people laugh.

“He just had that special gift,” she said. “Jimmie could always make people laugh and feel welcome and loved.”

Another co-worker said Nartates will be missed.

“He’s awesome,” Adella Batin said. “He always gets along with everyone—never a bad word. He’s just so positive and everyone feels it.”

Where to from here?

“Right now I just want to chill and sort things out,” Nartates said. “I am looking forward to spending time with my 3-month-old grandchild. I want to get a 14-foot aluminum boat and get in some fishing as well. I want to explore our local lakes.”

With a handful of hours left on his final shift, Nartates said, “Right now I am kind of excited and I’m also kind of nervous. It’s been a pretty good 34 years; it’s a nice job—it’s like an adventure. If you think positively, it will go by nice and smooth.”

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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