Somerset postman’s 60-year tenure on a long, rural route filled with wonder |

Somerset postman’s 60-year tenure on a long, rural route filled with wonder

Things have changed on the well-worn route around Somerset, but Emory Townsend, 93, still loves his stomping ground

Emory Townsend, 93, loads a mailbox on June 20, 2017 on his route from the Somerset post office. After 60 years of delivering mail, and many other jobs, Townsend says that it is more of a vacation than a job.
Gabriel Scarlett/The Denver Post

SOMERSET — Emory Townsend pulls his Kia Sorento off Colorado 133 near a mailbox and fills it with letters and packages, just as he has twice a week for the last 60 years. He turns his gaze toward the Raggeds Wilderness, its serrated ridges furrowing into lush benches of aspen and spruce.

It was about 25 years ago when Townsend returned home from his mail route and announced to his wife, Beebe, that Ragged Mountain was very likely the oldest in Colorado.

“She kinda looked at me all puzzled like a wife does when she can’t figure ya out and she asked me, ‘What makes you figure that’s oldest mountain in Colorado?’ ” he says, his blue eyes twinkling with a pending punchline. “I said, ‘Well, I was just looking at it today on the mail route and I decided it had more wrinkles than any other mountain in the state.’ ”

He unleashes a guffaw with that one. The ever-jovial 93-year-old storyteller has been delivering letters and packages under the shadow of Ragged Mountain since 1957, long before there was a Colorado 133 or a Raggeds Wilderness. He likely is the oldest mailman in the game. He is one of the longest serving employees with the U.S. Postal Service.

And has he got stories to tell.

“He has an amazing recollection for being 93 years old,” says Matt Davis, his co-worker at the tiny, wood-paneled Somerset post office. “He is just spot-on, to the dime.”

He and Beebe decided to sign up for some part-time postal delivery work in 1957. It was, he says, for “a little bit of money to buy groceries.”

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