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Mansfield Postmaster Retires after 35 Years

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Retirement is indeed a time for celebration, and on Friday, October 29, Mansfield Postmaster Bettye Barnes closed out a chapter in her life after over three decades.

Barnes was hired in 1986 by longtime Mansfield Postmaster, Neil Jones. She worked as a clerk in Mansfield, as well as in Hartford, Huntington, Fort Smith, Alma, and Waldron. In July of 2012, Barnes was named Officer in Charge at Mansfield, then in April of 2018, she became Postmaster.

“Bettye just brightens the day and it has been an honor to work with her the past three years,” shared clerk Sherri Kenner. “I have learned a lot and admire her calmness and take-charge attitude in an unseen situation. She is the best. We wish her well, but we will miss her!”

Long-time co-worker, Richard Henson agreed, stating: “I’ve worked under a lot of postmasters, and she is one of the best…She runs three post offices, and the amount of paperwork is unbelievable. But, with Bettye, you want to do your job well because of the kindness she shows her employees.”

Henson went on to reminisce, “one time she stole the spare tire out of the back of my route truck. I looked everywhere for that spare, even had Walmart review security to see if it was taken there. It showed up one day on our back docks with a note ‘I forgot I borrowed this and just remembered to bring it back.’ That spare cost me $250 to replace!” Henson laughed admitting he had it coming after the joke he had played on her! “I poured transmission fluid under her car after she got a new one put in to make her think it was leaking.” The antic costed Barnes a half-day of annual leave.

“When the carriers are out and our phones ring, if it is Bettye’s number, the first thing we think is ‘oh, crap!’ But, when we answer, she says one of two things. 1. You’ve done nothing wrong, or 2. Richard, you’re killing me!” He added that “Mansfield’s been so blessed to have her as a postmaster. She will be impossible to replace, and I will miss her dearly.”

Substitute mail carrier Linda Lowery shared, “Bettye has been the best boss anyone could’ve asked for. I feel blessed to have gotten to know her!” And, mail carrier Lana Owens added, “Bettye is a boss that goes above and beyond to meet customers’ needs and is diligent with their concerns. She’s a boss that truly cares about what is going on in your personal life and values your family time that you’ve asked off for, no matter what else may be going on during that time. She is a boss that will celebrate with you during the good times and will show sympathy during the hard times. She’s a boss that will send a Christmas care package to your military son that is deployed. Most people don’t get to work for a boss like this, but I have and it’s been wonderful! My boss has been such a blessing to me and I’m going to miss you dearly Bettye. I hope you enjoy your well-deserved retirement!”

Her co-workers hosted a farewell party for her on Friday. The come-and-go event was a time filled with laughter and reminiscence. Best wishes on your retirement Bettye Barnes!

Pictured from left: Phil Stevens, Sherri Keener, Bettye Barnes, Richard Henson, Shelley Tomlin, Linda Lowery, and Dean Gibbs
Retiring Postmaster Bettye Barnes with Dean Gibbs, who will be Mansfield’s new Officer in Charge.
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