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Keyport Postmaster Sally Knowlen (center) presents Robyn Hartz (right) with a plaque for her 21 years of service with the United States Postal Service Tuesday, all of which were spent at the Keyport post office. Fellow employee Lynda Christensen and friend Jerry Garner were on hand for the presentation. - Photos by Jesse Beals
Keyport Postmaster Sally Knowlen (center) presents Robyn Hartz (right) with a plaque for her 21 years of service with the United States Postal Service Tuesday, all of which were spent at the Keyport post office. Fellow employee Lynda Christensen and friend Jerry Garner were on hand for the presentation.
— image credit: Photos by Jesse Beals

Postal clerk Robyn Hartz knows the first names and P.O. box numbers of almost everyone in Keyport.

The 52-year-old woman retired Tuesday from the Keyport post office after 21 years on the job.

Hartz and her family lived on South Keyport Road for years, but she and her husband recently moved to Ellensburg and she decided the time was right for early retirement.

Hartz has been commuting from Ellensburg to Keyport for five months, regularly staying with a friend in Keyport, just to keep working at the post office.

"My car looks like I live in it," Hartz said.

Before becoming a postal clerk, Hartz worked at The Doctors Clinic in Bremerton and Poulsbo. She saw an advertisement in the newspaper asking people to take the postal exam and decided to give it a shot.

Hartz took the test and was offered a few postal clerk positions, but opted to work at her local post office in Keyport.

"Keyport (post office) is to die for, that's what I always tell people," said Lynda Christensen, a Keyport postal clerk.

Postal customers filed into the Keyport post office Tuesday to say goodbye to Hartz, bringing her gifts and offering hugs.

Hartz said stamps cost 22 cents when she entered the mail business. She said her favorite stamp is a Christmas one from a few years ago with a blue angel on it.

"I'll tell you which one I'm sick of — the Elvis stamp," she said with a smile.

Hartz said she will miss her postal customers and co-workers, Christensen and Keyport Postmaster Sallie Knowlen, but plans to come back and visit as often as possible.

"I have great customers, great co-workers," she said. "We all look out for each other. We really appreciate each other."

Hartz said she has developed close relationships with the sailors and Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport employees who frequently stop in the small post office.

"Since the base is closed this week, I won't get to say goodbye to a lot of my regulars," Hartz said.

Hartz's husband, Lloyd, retired from the Kitsap County roads department two years ago and their 19-year-old daughter currently attends Olympic College. She and her husband don't have any set retirement plans at the moment.

"It's pretty much open," Hartz said. "We're in for a whole change of scenery and pace."

Knowlen presented a teary-eyed Hartz with a plaque and service award from the United States Postal Service Tuesday for her 21 years at the Keyport post office.

"It's turned into quite a career for me," Hartz said.

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