STEUBENVILLE - The hugs started early Tuesday and will continue long after Steubenville Postmaster Anita Petrella retires from her job at the end of the month.
After nearly 40 years with the U.S. Postal Service, Anita Petrella accepted a buy-out offer and will step away from the only career she has ever known.
She was recognized and honored by family, friends, current and former co-workers during a nearly hour-long ceremony Tuesday afternoon near the entrance of the North Third Street post office.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS — Anita Petrella, Steubenville postmaster, and her husband, Craig Petrella, Mingo Junction postmaster, will officially retire July 31 from the U.S. Postal Service. Taking part in a retirement ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the North Third Street post office were, from left, front, Craig and Anita Petrella; Mike Petrella, their son; and Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci. Back, Jay Petrella, their son; Nikki Petrella, their daughter-in-law; Billy Petrella, their son; and state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville.
"My father was a postal supervisor for 37 years and retired as superintendent of mail. I started when I was 17 years old as a clerk on afternoon and night turn at the old Franklin Avenue post office. That is when the raccoons would come down at night from the hillside behind the building and walk around us while we were working. Then I moved to the daylight shift at the old Fourth Street post office as the supervisor of administration and I was allowed to wear a dress," Anita Petrella related prior to her retirement party.
She has spent the last seven years as the first female Steubenville postmaster.
"I have always worked for the postal service. So, after 39 years and 10 months I have accepted the buy-out offered by the postal service and will be retiring. My husband Craig has nearly 28 years in the postal service and he will be retiring at the end of the month as the Mingo Junction postmaster," said Anita Petrella.
"It is a little scary after a career here. My husband and I will be working on our son's Billy's campaign for Jefferson County commissioner. And after that I will be looking for another job. Both my husband and I have bachelor degrees in management and finance from Franciscan University of Steubenville," noted Anita Petrella.
"I was installed as the Steubenville postmaster in January 2005. I feel this is the end of an era. My biggest fan during my career was my dad. He and my mom helped me to succeed in this career because they would watch our kids while I was at work," she declared.
The retirement party included remarks from retired Steubenville postmasters Bill Martin and Tony Lonetta, who commended Anita Petrella for her dedication and service to the community.
"I remember one time when the Social Security checks were late. Anita volunteered to deliver the checks to each recipient in another community. She has always been very dedicated to her job and to the public," Martin said.
"I understand downsizing is necessary because of automation and the decline of people using the mail service. I have mailed my bills for the past 40 years and the mail service never lost a single one. I used the Internet twice and was in trouble with someone hacking my information both times," related Lonetta.
State Sen. Lou Gentile, D- Steubenville, presented special recognition to Anita and Craig Petrella from the Ohio Senate. And, Mayor Domenick Mucci declared July 31 as Anita Petrella Day to mark her retirement.
Rose Angelica provided musical entertainment including a song she wrote about Petrella.After the ceremony, lifelong friend Marilyn Mosti stepped forward to give Petrella a long hug.
"We have been friends since we were kids attending Cathedral grade school. I am very happy for her today," said Mosti.
"I was postal as a child and I will always be postal. It is in my blood," Anita Petrella stated.