Neighbors deliver heartfelt farewell to South Austin mailman

The Southwood neighbors came streaming into a church parking lot Saturday morning to fill a red, white and blue-clothed table with gifts and notes for their beloved mailman.

Atop the table was a mailbox someone made out of a recycled cardboard envelope with an origami package crafted from dollar bills inside. Letters filled the table, one labeled “Kevin” in marker and with “best mailman ever!!” written beneath it.

About 100 neighbors gathered for the potluck brunch to send off Kevin Normand, their longtime mailman, who retired this month after 31 years with the U.S. Postal Service and more than six years with their South Austin neighborhood. They were also celebrating his 57th birthday.

“I’m telling them they’re going way over and above,” said Normand, wearing a blue trucker-style USPS hat and Hawaiian floral button-down. Retirement will give him time to try his hand at health and life coaching, he said, and “there’ll be time for golfing and camping and maybe traveling.”

In a time when many hardly see, never mind get to know, the neighborhood mail carrier, the Southwood neighbors had story after story to tell about Normand.

Nancy Hallmark recalled the flower seeds that Normand would tuck in her mailbox, knowing she was a fellow gardening fan.

Holly Gordon recounted a time when she’d ordered 10 live baby ducks, and after delivering them, Normand stopped by when he was done with the route to check on them.

Janet McCreless remembered the family-friendly flicks that he’d pick up from Blockbuster and leave in her mailbox for her kids and then return for her when she put them back.

McCreless, one of the party organizers, said that when they heard about Normand’s retirement, neighbors knew they had to mark the occasion somehow, to show how much they appreciated and would miss him.

“We couldn’t let him retire without a big send-off,” McCreless said. “He’s too dear to us. Too, too dear.”

Margie Holmes, who lived in the neighborhood for 53 years but recently moved, came all the way from Georgetown to say goodbye to Normand. Holmes recalled that if she was out of town, Normand would make sure to throw her newspapers on her porch so they wouldn’t pile up in the open, and on his days off, he’d plant flowers for her in her yard.

“He’s a special person in my life. He was not only a good postman; he was like a friend,” Holmes said. “The world needs more people like him.”

“I don’t get my mail until 5 (p.m.) and after now,” Jane Lusk lamented to Normand, who was known for his punctuality.

“Uh-oh,” he said. “Guy’s wearing headphones?”

“I don’t know. Haven’t seen him it’s so late,” Lusk said.

“Kevin, did you know that I set my clock by you?” one woman named Mercedes wrote in a guest book. “I know that it is 4:30 on the dot when I hear your truck! You are awesome! You will be missed!”

For as many stories as the neighbors had, Normand had stories as well. One of his customers, who Normand knew was a carpenter, built him a pool deck. Many of them baked him Christmas goodies during the holiday season, and he always knew he could ask any given neighbor for a drink of water or to use the bathroom.

Their friendship was what kept him doing the little things, Normand said, even if it cut into his lunch hour. Do unto others, as the biblical saying goes, he said.

“The other carriers say I spoil my customers,” Normand said. “I don’t know what they mean by that.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Community news: H-E-B hosts Feast of Sharing on Tuesday

TRAVIS COUNTY SOUTH AUSTIN Feast of Sharing on Tuesday H-E-B will host its 28th annual Feast of Sharing dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. The free event will include live entertainment and a children’s area. The meal will include turkey, mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, pies, dinner rolls...
Traffic report for Monday, Nov. 20, 2017

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The outside lane on the southbound access road will be closed as needed between Oltorf Street and St. Edwards Drive from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The outside lane on the northbound access road will be closed just north of Stassney Lane from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday. Variable closures on the northbound...
Threat cleared at Williamson County apartments, sheriff says
Threat cleared at Williamson County apartments, sheriff says

7:45 p.m. update: Authorities say residents are now able to move safely in and out of the Preserve at Rolling Oaks Apartments in Williamson County after law enforcement cleared a threat made earlier at the complex. “A specific threat was made in the area & after searching with multiple agencies we feel confident area is clear. Though nothing...
Border Patrol agent dies, partner seriously injured in Big Bend area

The FBI has taken charge of an investigation into the death of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent and the serious injury of another Sunday in the Big Bend area of Texas. Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were taken to a hospital after sustaining injuries while on duty around Big Bend. Martinez died and his partner, whose...
Man accused of baseball bat attacks in North Austin, police say

NORTH AUSTIN Man accused of baseball bat attacks A 26-year-old man was charged with five counts of aggravated assault after police said he struck five people with his hands and an aluminum baseball bat in North Austin. Kenney Irons was booked into the Travis County Jail in lieu of bail set at $100,000 following the incident at Zoe’s Helping Hand...
More Stories