Historical Details

Taylor, Don - Postal Worker

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 09/30/1992

Lusk postal worker surprised by publicity

Lusk's Don Taylor has had more than his share of publicity, from national television exposure and magazine a(nd) newspaper articles. All point to his long career with the United States Postal System, and the fact that he still delivers mail each day - at age 96.

But even Taylor was caught off guard this past week when he found his exploits written up in the Sept. 22 issue of the "National Enquirer," a Florida based publication with an estimated weekly readership of 18 million.

An article, complete with a photograph, appeared in the recent issue of the national photo magazine. Taylor remembers having talked to a free-lance journalist, and having taken him on a ride covered by his route, where the photographs were taken.

But Taylor says he didn't realize his story would eventually wind up in the "National Enquirer."

"My son called me from Douglas, and several members of the Niobrara County Senior Center in Lusk have seen the story.

"I had no idea this was going to happen," Taylor said. "This all was a complete surprise to me.

"I was just surprised to find that many people around here read the 'National Enquirer'," he added.

Earl Stresak, a Denver-area freelance journalist, wrote the article and took the photographs. He told the Lusk Herald that he had been taken on a portion of Taylor's route by the mail delivery man for a photo-shooting session.

"I must have taken three or four rolls of film," Stresak says. "They (the 'National Enquirer') like to have that many pictures to choose from."

Taylor also recalls where the photographs were taken. By studying the picture in the NE article, Taylor says the photos were taken southeast of Lusk.

"Those pictures were taken at the mailbox of Art Brozovich, who lives on Highways 80 and 85 south of Lusk."

"Don is just a really nice man," Stresak said. "I really enjoyed visiting with him while I was up there."

Taylor's son, who initially noticed the article, is Alfred Taylor, now a District Judge in Douglas.

U.S. Postal officials have long conceded that Taylor is the nation's oldest working carrier in the nation.

The Lusk Herald
May 17, 1889
Don Taylor - He has claim to fame

Lusk has a claim to fame in its presence. He is famous, but you'd never know it by talking to him.

Don Taylor is a quiet, unassuming man who goes about his daily duties as a United States postal carrier for Niobrara County without much fanfare, but a lot of dedication to his job.

Taylor has been featured in numerous publications including the Denver Post, the national postal publication, the Lingle Guide, and several other publications. He is the oldest active mail carrier in the United States. That distinction has not been challenged by anyone for seven years.

Taylor's hobbies include gardening. He used to do a lot of fishing and hunting, going big game hunting every year "for a good many years," he said.

Taylor said that as soon as the weather cooperates he will set out his tomato plants. He is also raising a wild flower garden, similar to what Wyoming's first lady, Jane Sullivan, has suggested for many of the flower boxes around the state buildings of Wyoming.

Taylor said Sullivan has voiced some interest in coming to see his wild flower garden. He is uncertain if she will actually come to Lusk.

Taylor was born in Huron, S.D., on a farm. His father came from Iowa and filed on a land claim. His mother came from Germany. She came to America to visit her brother and she never left.

After serving in the army, Taylor came to Wyoming to visit two of his brothers, who were living in Wyoming. He has lived here ever since.

Taylor likes to tell stories of delivering the mail during the Blizzard of '49. He said he could only go so far each day, so he would go one way on one day and then go around and go as far as he could from the other direction, so his customers were getting mail every other day during the incapacitating snowstorm. He said one day he got some mail mixed up and delivered it to the wrong box and a gentleman complained. He had earlier complained about only getting mail every other day. Taylor said his superior laughed and told the man he should be grateful for the service he did get. Taylor retaliated by putting a flyer of baby chicks in the man's mailbox every day that he did not have any mail. He said the man would watch for him and when he saw Taylor put mail in the box, would ride his horse to the mailbox every day.

Taylor married his wife, Ethel Thompson, March 9, 1923, in Douglas. She died in November 1984. the couple had three sons, Donald Lee, now deceased; William Alfred, a district judge in Douglas; and James Martin, a vice president of a Sheridan bank.

He tells with pride of his oldest son's citation for bravery during World War II. His son was an engineer and a group of soldiers were pinned down by enemy fire. He and two others volunteered to expose themselves to the enemy fire in order to ready a cable necessary to form a bridge across a river. His son remained in the open for more than 30 minutes, according to the citation Taylor proudly displays on his wall. He was later killed in a car accident.

Taylor also tells with pride of his other sons' occupations, noting some of the cases his son the judge has heard. One of the cases was a murder trial in Torrington a few years ago.

Taylor said he used to do a lot more reading than he had time for now. He keeps active at 93 with his mail route, which is a 70-mile round trip journey. He began his career as a mail carrier in 1943, when the original mail carrier for the area was drafted to serve in WWII.

He volunteered to fill in as a temporary carrier until a full-time carrier could be found. He has now been delivering mail for 46 years. His route runs six days a week and serves about 23 patrons.

Prior to beginning his mail carrier career, he worked for the State Highway Department and his wife was the county treasurer, he said.

Taylor is a contract worker with the postal service in Niobrara County. He said when he retired there will be no more paychecks. He is not a postal service employee, so he does not have the benefits they have for retirement. He says he does not plan to retire in the near future, but does plan to take a little more time off. He has two friends who help him out on the route from time to time and one of them will take on the route while he is gone.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Taylor, Don (02/25/1896 - 12/03/1993) View Record
Obituary Martin, James (11/16/1936 - 01/04/2005) View Record
Obituary Taylor, Ethel (04/07/1897 - 11/06/1984) View Record