Mailman retires after 49 years on same route

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David Cober has been booting around the backroads of Clearview for almost five decades, delivering the mail out of the Stayner Post Office to the residents of Rural Route 4.

At age 75, Cober is retiring after 49 years on the same route, which he inherited from his father Jeniah Cober, who had it for 25 years. Back then, family members had first chance at a route when it became available.

He was 26 years old when he took his 1962 Volkswagen Beetle on his first day out. It cost him $1 per day in gas and he was done around lunchtime.

“I was the youngest when I started and now I am the oldest,” he said.

Cober has seen a lot of changes to the route, which takes him west of Stayner, along Fairgrounds Road, Concession 6, County Road 124, Concession 10 and all the sideroads in between. As Canada Post evolves along with advancements in technology, Cober has been delivering fewer and fewer standard pieces of mail and more parcels from online orders.

He has seen the route expand from 286 points of call to 668. The 120-km route takes about 8-10 hours.

As the route expanded, Cober was allowed a helper so since July he has had the assistance of his wife June, who had her own route for 42 years.

He has calculated a by-the-numbers record of 49 years of service: he worked under six postmasters, went through 24 vehicles and worked his way up to 10th on the national seniority list (sixth from the top in Ontario). Cober said he used to sit in the middle of the front seat and drive with his left foot so he could lean over and reach the mailbox through the passenger window but as rules became more stringent he had to get a vehicle with right-hand drive.

Back in the day, it was mostly roadside delivery and Cober says he knew many of the people on his route. He became worried for a couple one time when he noticed their car was at home but they weren’t picking up the mail. After about a week he notified the police who discovered they had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Cober said he received a thank you letter from the daughter.

Cober has driven through all kinds of weather but rarely missed a day and has had very few sick days.

His co-workers bid farewell to Cober at a retirement party on March 29.

Trina Berlo photo: Local area superintendent Mario Galinec presents David Cober with a retirement plaque during a farewell party at the Stayner Post Office on March 29.

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