Sonoma mailman Joe Kennedy, retiring after 40 years, receives a special delivery of best wishes from Margaret and Kit Lynch, two of some 200 residents at a farewell celebration on Jan. 27. “With his twinkling eyes, bushy white beard (which was brown in the 1980s!), he was a familiar, beloved and interesting presence on our streets, and will be missed,” said Linda Alwitt.
“Joe the Mailman” delivered mail to three generations of some families, watched toddlers grow to married adults, and shared the joys and sorrows of many families on his route. At the Sonoma Community Center, gathering Kennedy was honored with many words of good cheer, gifts, a humorous poem, and a scrapbook of photos and letters of thanks for his friendly service. Friends recalled how he inspired a young boy’s Halloween costume, complete with mail sack and cotton ‘beard,’ and how he was included in the address on postcards from a traveling son to his parents in Sonoma. “He knew the people in the neighborhood and his friends will miss him,” Alwitt said.