After more than 30 years, the face of Winnsboro’s P.O. calls it a day

After 34 years on the job, Emma Oliver, Winnsboro’s first African-American Postmaster, clocks out for the last time July 24.

Winnsboro’s Postmaster, Emma Oliver, will retire July 24 after 34 years of dedicated service as a federal employee. Besides having the distinction of being the town’s 21st Postmaster, Oliver, a Ridgeway native and 1974 graduate of Winnsboro High School, is the first African-American Postmaster for the Winnsboro Post Office. It’s a career she said she has loved; but, she added, that she never really planned to be a Postmaster.

Oliver was studying secretarial science at Midlands Technical College and working in the accounting office of Richway, a department store in Columbia, when she responded to an advertisement for an entry level position as a processing clerk in the postal system. Oliver got the job and, after months of rigorous testing, embarked on what was to become a notable postal career in March 1978, at the Columbia processing center that was on Assembly Street at that time.

It was not long before Oliver’s work ethic caught the attention of her management team, and she was recruited for management training. With passion, Oliver explained the importance of developing strong work habits, no matter the job.

“If you are responsible for sweeping the floor, be the best floor sweeper you can be because you never know who is watching you,” she said.

Applying this philosophy to every aspect of her career, Oliver was promoted to plant supervisor in Columbia, then plant manager in Florence, SC for nine years and plant manager in Greenville, SC, for six years before returning home to Fairfield County four years ago as Postmaster.

Oliver’s time with the postal service has provided her with great rewards (travel, many friends and an exciting career) . . . and great rewards for the postal system as well. With her keen understanding of the 24-hour productivity cycle of mail processing plants, Oliver was a primary author of a management training course in plant manager preparedness. That training course has been credited with improving operations in processing plants throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

As a single parent, Oliver had to satisfy the demands of family, career and the pressures of leadership. She said the support she received from her family during her career was a significant factor in her success.

“There was a time when my bags were packed every week,” she said.

Oliver said balancing work and life while raising three sons who would go on to become college graduates was easier to manage with the support of her grandparents and family.

What will Oliver miss most after her retirement?

“The people,” she said with a smile.

Turning the page to the next chapter in her life, the grandmother of three expressed a strong passion for family, Word Alive Church, where she is a member, and her longtime dedication to youth empowerment through mentoring.

“I spent many years mentoring young girls during the early part of my career,” Oliver said. “Maybe now I’ll have more time to devote to that.”

“And I plan to travel,” she added with a bright smile. “I’ll be off to Texas, California, Seattle . . . many places. But don’t worry – I’ll keep the post office busy and profitable – sending all those post cards home from the places I go.”