Proud area postal heritage ends for family after 62 years

September 5, 2018

Former Beaver Dam postal worker Robert Budde's sons -- from left, Tim, Brian and Pat -- look at a picture of their father recently. All three boys became postmen, and Brian's retirement in May ended the family's 62-year run with the United States Postal Service.

Brian Budde was just born when his father decided to become a postal carrier in Beaver Dam, and he and two brothers followed in their father’s footsteps — quite literally, in fact.

But Budde’s retirement at the end of May marked the end of a 62-year run of one local family working for the U.S. Postal Service. Budde’s father, Robert, served in the Korean War before marrying his bride, Catherine, in 1951. Catherine said that the two lived on South Street in Beaver Dam next to a postal carrier, Jim Rich, which prompted her husband to pursue a similar career.

Catherine’s mother told her that throughout the Great Depression, people thought those who worked at the post office were rich.

For 27 years beginning in 1956, Robert Budde walked the streets of Beaver Dam, delivering the mail on the south side of the city, and ultimately saw his sons join the “family business” after his own retirement. He died last September at age 90.

Tim Budde retired in October after 34 years with USPS, culminating as the postmaster in Markesan. Pat Budde worked for USPS for 32 years, and Brian Budde’s retirement came at the end of a 33-year career.

Tim Budde ended his career on Oct. 15 after 34 years with the postal service.

The family eventually moved near Swan City Park and Tim Budde said he remembers his father coming home for breaks after tying up his cart across the street at the relay box.

It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the Budde boys would take after their father, professionally speaking.

Tim Budde said he was going to school for auto mechanics and was employed by Chrysler Marine when they went on strike. Robert Budde retired in November 1983, and gently steered his sons toward his line of work.

“My dad told me they were giving the postal test,” Tim Budde said.

Tim took the test and was the first of the brothers to become a postal carrier.

“I did get offered a casual position, but I didn’t want to accept one of those,” Tim Budde said. “I started working at Parts Headquarters. I waited for a career position and started in Columbus for 18 years.”

Pat Budde said he didn’t go to school right away and was struggling to find a good-paying position in Beaver Dam.

“Dad thought we shouldn’t have to go to college, and we should just find a place to go and stay,” he said.

Brian Budde began on his birthday in 1985 and was a carrier in Waupun until his retirement on May 31.

“There are still Buddes that are postal carriers, but they are cousins,” Pat Budde said.

Pat Budde was a carrier in Beaver Dam and started on a temporary position before he was offered a part-time position.

Brian Budde said he tested with both of his brothers.

“I was on the waiting list for two years and they offered me an extension,” Brian Budde said. “I was told I was hired because of the Budde name.”

Tim said he decided to have an inside job at the post office after a conversation with his dad.

“He said that when you get old, the hot gets hotter and the cold is colder,” Tim Budde said.

There were a lot of changes over the years for the brothers in the postal business. There are less first-class letters to stuff in mailboxes and more packages being delivered.

And there is more technology in the post office that makes sorting out the mail less of a human chore, Tim Budde said.

“It was a good career for them,” Catherine Budde said.

“I remember walking past a window and thought I saw my dad,” Brian Budde said. “I was extremely proud of that patch on my shoulder.”

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