By Jason Aigeldinger for SCN -
Marcia Shea, the beloved Postmaster of Moose Pass will retire on Friday March 21. Shea has spent the last thirty years manning what can be viewed as the epicenter of the small Kenai Peninsula community of roughly 220 residents and said that she has truly enjoyed serving the community she loves.
“I have the best job in town,” said the beaming great-grandmother of four. “It has worked out for me perfectly.”
Shea said that she will continue to reside in the small mountain hamlet, enjoying the company of her life partner and fellow Postmaster Jerry Nassen. Nassen will also retire from his duties as Seward Postmaster on Friday. Shea said the couple plans to travel around the state’s road system this summer and that future travel plans include touring around Washington State.
Shea was born in Anchorage and spent her childhood in a handful of Interior communities. After attending High School in Seward, Shea moved to Moose Pass in 1968 at the age of 17 and decided to put down some roots. She got married that same year in a small cabin located just a couple hundred yards west of the post office.
Shea described Moose Pass circa 1968 as a place with less structures and more trees but roughly the same number of people as there are residing in town today. She said that there were many more elderly residents back in those days. Shea worked all sorts of odd jobs around Moose Pass while raising her two sons and had a brief stint working for the state in Anchorage during the 1970′s and then, in 1983, she landed a part-time postal clerk position at Moose Pass.
According to a Seward Phoenix Log article written by Carole Jaffa in 1986, Shea assumed the role of Postmaster that Summer, replacing Julie Kane who moved down to California.
Shea said her career with the postal service both served to anchor her in the community and also afforded her he ability to travel the country.
In 1991, Shea became active in the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, attending annual national conferences across the country. During her tenure with NAPUS, Shea has served as Membership Chairman, President of the Alaska state chapter, Editor, and also served on the National Editor Board.
Shea said that her NAPUS experiences helped her to come out of her shell and to expand her professional circle of colleagues. She said it has really had been handy to be able to just pick up the phone and speak to other Postmasters around the state when she has an issue or question.
It was at the organization’s National Leadership Conference held in New Orleans in 1991 that Shea initially met her life partner Nassen. He began his postal service career in August of 1984 in Okanogan, Wa. In 1993, Nassen assumed the duties as Postmaster in Ronald, Wa. and stayed on in that “Moose Pass sized town” for 18 years.
In 2005, Shea and Nassen began working on a plan to spend the rest of their lives together and in 2009, he assumed the duties as Officier-in-Charge in Nome. It was then onto Glenallen as a brief stint as Postmaster. Nassen then assumed those duties in Seward in 2010.
When not traveling, the two soon to be former Postmasters look forward to simply “hanging out in Moose Pass.”
An open house will be held this Friday at the Moose Pass Post Office and a retirement party for the couple will be held on the fifth of April at the Trail Lake Lodge.