Post Office Says Goodbye to Beloved Clerk

Community sends off much-loved mail room clerk John Useller after over 30 years.

Most consider standing in line at the postal office a tedious, boring chore, but Broomall Post Office-goers know otherwise. The mailroom clerk's boisterous singing booms through the tiny, package stuffed office while every person in line has a smile stretching ear to ear.

John Useller has been working as a clerk at the Broomall Post Office, 2628 West Chester Pike, since 1973. But starting Jan. 31, customers won't be enjoying Useller's vocal talents anymore -- at least not at the post office.

"I will miss the customers, they're what made my job so easy," Useller said of his retirement. "I see a lot of people go from kids to young adults and they’ve seen me grow old too."

Useller grew up in the area and initially took a job at the post office in the mid-70s.

"The money was fine for a bachelor," he said. "I used to work at 5:30 in the morning and had weekends off."

He eventually got married and moved to Delaware, but Useller soon found that the job had too great of social perks for him to work elsewhere.

Useller has created several bonds with customers over the years and claims to know 80 to 90 percent of the people who come in.

Paul Quintavalla, a customer and acquaintance of Useller for the past 25 years, is one of those customers. He said he enjoys waiting in line just for Useller's fun-natured jokes and dedication to his work when he drops off his mail.

"Waiting in line for John is unticketed entertainment," Quintavalla said. "He will break into song, wise crack with the guys, offer advice to neophytes and pleasantries to the elderly."

Quintavalla said an elderly woman once said she liked dropping off her mail during the holidays because longer lines meant more time to enjoy Useller's jokes and -- of course -- his songs.

Useller said he's been well-known for his musical talents for years. Back in 1981 a writer who came to the post office for the first time penned a story about Useller when she was left confused as to why no other customers found the singing clerk odd.

Useller said he bursts out into song still -- either when someone says something he can relate to a song or when he recalls a song he'd heard recently on his car radio.

"The one running joke is that I basically sing one line of a song," he said. "If you’re in for 10 minutes, you might hear it a few times."

Though it's likely customers will no longer get the kind of show they did with Useller, he says to expect quality service from his fellow employees.

"My coworkers have been pretty much of the same mold," he said. "They’re always consumer-oriented and trying to make sure the customer gets the best service."

As for Useller, he'll be enjoying a few weeks in Florida. But fear not, his trip is not permanent. He plans on looking for a new job -- with similar social benefits to his long-running gig as a clerk -- in the area.

"I’ve been too active for too long that I don’t think I can sit at home," he said. "I don’t have any hobbies...I’m not a stamp collector or a coin collector so I’ll have to do something to keep busy."

Ultimately, Useller said he'd like to work as a waiter on a cruise ship. But he's more likely to get a job working at a gym or driving a bus around town.

Useller also said he's sure to keep further tabs on his customers as he plans on making a Facebook account.

But until the end of the month, Useller said he looks forward to enjoying his time with customers.

sandy kauffman January 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Always made the trip to the post office just a little bit special and interesting. Take care John.
19008 Resident January 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Wow, Congratulations John, we will miss you... You made waiting in that long line much more tolerable..... Will you be passing on your legacy to any of the other clerks???
Laura Wallace January 16, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Anita January 16, 2013 at 01:57 PM
I always left with a smile. Good luck and many years ahead to start a new chapter in your book of life.
Pattie Price January 16, 2013 at 02:05 PM
John, Although I don't come in that often, I will miss your happy face. Best wishes!
Paul W. Lutton January 16, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Laura,AGREE!!! John should go up to Newtown Square P.O.before he retires. and train them in customer relations. John,have a great,well earned retirement!
Monica Dioguardi January 16, 2013 at 03:18 PM
John, every postal worker should have your good nature and enthusiasm! I will miss seeing you behind that counter. Monica Dioguardi
Cindy DeAngelis January 16, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Hey John---You're a classic! Love ya! Broomall was blessed to have you for so long! Agree with Laura about the miserable NS PO. I hope your bosses and co-workers realize how special and wonderful you are, if not shame on them! I will visit you before you leave...If more humans had your wonderful attitude the world would be a much better place ...for sure! Wish you all the best. Maybe now you'll have time to golf in my Annual NICU Golf Tournament...Friday June 14th Sprinfield CC!!! See ya..Cindy
Kathy Besa January 16, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Laura & PWL/CHL you got my vote on that
Jill January 16, 2013 at 05:59 PM
John is the best- so helpful and always in a great mood. He makes waiting in line at the post office fun. He will be sorely missed!!
lorraine hoffman oneill January 16, 2013 at 06:05 PM
hugo.best of luck on your retirement. gotta tell my mom to come say good luck before you leave. xo lorraine hoffman oneill
Janet January 16, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Haven't been in the post office since I stopped doing mailings for my old boss several years ago, but you always made it a more pleasant experience when I did come in. I'm sure you will be missed a lot by the remaining regular customers!! And maybe you'll be providing the music at a future event that we go to?? -- Mrs. TonyGuns :-)
Phyllis Rogers January 16, 2013 at 07:24 PM
No one better than John, I travel to come to that post office just for the niceness of all the employees... John did both of my children's weddings 'and will not be forgotten. The very best to you always John...
Diane Tumolo January 16, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Good luck John, and congrats on your retirement, You were always a pleasure!!
Casey Useller January 16, 2013 at 09:48 PM
So happy to call this man my father.. Reading this article and everyone's comments really tugged on the heart strings.... Love you pop. Love, gizmo
Michele Venuti January 16, 2013 at 09:50 PM
John, Wishing you only the best!! Will miss seeing you with the gang at the PO! Thanks for always giving help and information when ever I needed it!! Also have fond memories of your DJing skills at our MJT Fundraiser! YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!
Vincent DiAngelus January 16, 2013 at 10:45 PM
John, I will eternally hear your song every visit to the Broomall P.O. I hope you find your dream job. You will be missed. Vince
mary January 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM
the best singer in the family! ;) congrats Uncle John! live it up~ xo~flipper 94941
Ann Eglington January 16, 2013 at 10:49 PM
hey John...I will miss seeing you at the post office! You always have a smile and a song to sing. I am always appreciative of you being so nice to my kids too. I only hope I see you DJing at a DiGiacomo function real soon! Best of luck on your retirement. Enjoy the good life! Ann (DiGiacomo) Eglington
margaret stoner January 17, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Hugo congrats on retirement but your life is just beginning. Hugo is the best DJ ever if you like good old motown and dance music. Wasn't sure if you are considering pursuing that avenue Hugo but you are the master of spinning music. I recall many years ago hiring you for our Chilton parties. I have circled back and live in Broomall and will never forget your melodious tunes. I will feel compelled to start singing "Your Love is Like a Rainbow"...when I enter to PO and wake up your co-workers with fond memories. Best of luck always and much love. Peg the Leg (You used to call me that at LP bowling team) :-)
Dawn O'Neill January 17, 2013 at 03:12 AM
John -- we will miss you!!! It will not be the same without you...thank you for all your years of wonderful service. Best wishes to a wonderful retirement! Love, The O'Neill's-Dawn, Pat, Mags and Liam Patrick Remember we have a date in September!!!
Dora mulloy January 17, 2013 at 04:55 AM
John, Broomall P.O. will never be the same without you!! I am soooo happy I have had the chance to know you, your positive energy is what we all need in this world. You have done quite a few of our parties with your DJ business, and we have had a blast every time. Please don't ever retire from being a DJ!!!! Enjoy Florida and see you at our next party!!!
Magic666 January 17, 2013 at 02:56 PM
John, enjoy your retirement! We will all miss your happy face.
Margaret Righter January 18, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Dearest Hugo Lawrence Park got the best when you moved here from Ohio. I met John on Westfield Drive, he was my brother's and my husband's friend and quickly became one of the boys. We have laughed, danced together, even on the stage back in the day. We are so fortunate to have had such a wonderful life and friendship with all the gang from Lawrence Park. John's DJ, singing and dancing and postal worker talents are the best. All the above tributes to him are right on. He makes us all smile.. Love ya Hugo
Dan diGrazio January 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Hugo, Best wishes. I have been blessed by you for many years, From the mound to the dance floor to the PO. Good health. Danny D
Bonnie Scott January 21, 2013 at 04:09 PM
John, You are going to be missed. You made the trip to the post office a pleasure. Much happiness in your retirement. Bonnie Scott
Barbara Ellis February 04, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Although we live in Newtown Square, I always went to the Broomall post office. I have known John for 30+ years . He always greets me with a "Hi Barb" and asks how I am doing. We first met while I was playing in the adult women's softball league in Newtown Square some 30 plus years ago. Obviously he enjoyed his job and the customers enjoyed his enthusiasm, and most of the time his singing!!! I will miss seeing you John. Take care. Barb Ellis
Nancy Hayes February 05, 2013 at 12:21 AM
John is so very special and what a delight to see him!! Was always excited to walk into the post office to get that special warm hello from John and hearing him sing while waiting in line was fabulous!! John, I will miss you and it will be so hard to walk in there and not see you........ Thanks for always giving me a friendly welcome and for being the BEST DJ at my parties!! Keep in touch!! Much love, Nancy Hayes
Nancy Holliday February 21, 2013 at 03:39 PM
I have always enjoyed my visits to the Broomall PO. Everyone there is very helpful, but John's showmanship made our PO special! Enjoy your retirement, John! You will be missed!


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