LENOX — Joseph N. Walsh retired as assistant postmaster here today after 42 years and 11 months of service and without having taken a single day of sick leave.
At the Log Cabin last night, 98 men turned out to honor Mr. Walsh and present him with luggage and a purse. He did not report to work yesterday or today because he had two days coming to him for work done on weekends. His official retirement takes effect tomorrow.
Since he joined the postal service at Pittsfield, March 1, 1913, Mr. Walsh has not missed a single day’s work because of illness. The Post Office began keeping track of sick leaves in 1922. Mr. Walsh has accumulated 2,776 hours, or over 115 days, of unused sick leave since that year.
As indicated by the speeches last night, however, Mr. Walsh is better known for his knowledge of the town and its people. A native of Lenox, he was transferred from Pittsfield to the local Post Office, Jan. 1, 1915.
Toastmaster Maurice J. Roche termed him “not an individual but an institution.”
“He has been our chamber of commerce, information booth and father confessor,” Mr. Roche said. “Joe Walsh’s retirement from this Post Office is the end of an era here.”
Partly in jest, Mr. Roche observed that the guest of honor must have licked several gallons of glue during his 43 years in the Post Office, observed unnumbered times that “yes, it does look like rain today,” given hundreds of visitors the directions to Tanglewood and thousands the directions to other landmarks and homes in town.
Mr. Walsh served in the local Post Office under six postmasters: John M. Johnson, Edmund Spencer, Charles McCarthy, William Dunn, John Blake and the present postmaster, William Parker.
Mr. Walsh was also one of the chief news sources of over a dozen Eagle reporters who have covered the town since 1915. Among the several anecdotes related by the 17 speakers last night was the story of the time Mr. Walsh, in jest, told the late Walt Lewis, Eagle reporter, that Miss Betty Coed of Lenox had returned to college. Mr. Lewis innocently submitted the item along with other social notes Mr. Walsh frequently supplied to all reporters.
A 1912 graduate of Lenox High, Mr. Walsh was employed as a stock clerk at the lumber mill of the Clifford Co. until he entered the postal service under the late Postmaster John G. Orr at Pittsfield. Mr. Walsh is a bachelor and resides with his sister on St. Ann’s Avenue.
He says he is planning a trip to Florida after a short rest.