A retirement open house honoring Jeanette Ripley will be hosted November 24, 6 to 9 p.m. at Hillbillies in Erhard.


By Brenda Brand, Special Correspondent 

In March of 1984, while recovering from a snowmobile accident, that included a cut head and concussion, Floyd Haarstick stopped by and asked if Jeanette would like to consider coming to work at the Erhard Post Office as a rural carrier. 

Jeanette Ripley will be retiring from the United States Postal Service this month, after about 34 years. The job description didn’t necessarily include tender loving care of the flower pots in the Pelican Post Office lobby, but as an avid gardener–Ripley has no hesitation in rolling up her sleeves, and getting her hands dirty.

Her response: “Are you kidding me, no I don’t think so.” But her husband said, “She’ll think about it.” 

While contemplating the position, a man in Erhard told her, “There’s no way in hell a woman can do that job.” She said, “Oh, you think so?” and decided to prove him wrong! 

Jeanette took the position in Erhard as a rural carrier relief position. Basically she was the fill-in person when a carrier needed a day off or called in sick. She then moved up to being a part-time rural carrier associate delivering mail on a route. At that time the post office in Erhard was in someone’s house. 

After Floyd retired, John Janish from Pelican replaced Floyd as a rural carrier and a temporary trailer (still in use today) was moved in for the Post Office. 

In 2002 Jeanette accepted a position as a clerk at the Pelican Rapids Post Office. In January of 2004, Ripley applied for the position of Postmaster in Erhard which she held for nine years. When that position was downsized, Jeanette was able to return to the Pelican Rapids Post Office once again as a clerk. Ripley has always enjoyed the postmaster she has worked under, finding them very family oriented and accommodating for time-off when it was needed.

During her years as a rural carrier, Ripley was able to raise two sons and also to work part-time for ten years at the Nordic Needle in the Fergus Falls mall. Being a “people person” and loving to crochet and knit, Jeanette enjoyed being able to help people to find exactly what they needed to complete a project. During these years, she also taught knitting and crocheting for different Community Education classes in the area.

Jeanette’s retirement plans include spending more time with her five grandchildren ranging in age from 8 to 13. With four boys and one girl, she will keep busy traveling between Grand Forks and Montevideo where her two sons and daughters-in-law live. 

She also plans to help her 84 year old mother and 89 year old father, who still live on the home place near Underwood, with their needs. Ripley also hopes to rejoin a group of ladies for some “girl-talk” on a regular basis. Married for 47 years to her husband Dave, Jeanette plans to also help out at the family business Ripley’s Incorporated in Erhard.

Another hobby Jeanette enjoys working on is her sewing projects. Gardening is something that both Jeanette and her husband Dave enjoy doing together. Canning pickles for their church and canning other produce keeps both of them busy. 

Getting more involved in activities with Grace Lutheran Church in Erhard will also keep Jeanette busy. Travel will be on her retirement schedule. Though they are not “snowbirds,” Jeanette and her husband enjoy escaping to Puerto Vallarta for a couple weeks, often going with Dave’s brother John and his wife. They also plan to make other short trips.

Some of Jeanette’s favorite times on the job were being able to help people and solve their problems as well as how kind people can be, which she says you can only find in a small town. 

Best of luck to Jeanette on her retirement!