Rochester postal worker recognized for 56 years on the job before passing away

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 17, 2024

 Ed Kane holds up a cake during a celebration of his  50 years at the post office.

Ed Kane holds up a cake during a celebration of his 50 years at the post office.

Photo provided by Pat Kane


ROCHESTER — The city of Rochester recently recognized a Rochester postal worker for his retirement after 56 years of serving the community.

Rochester resident Ed Kane started working for the United States Postal Service on Dec. 7, 1967. Kane, 84, passed away March 28 after a battle with cancer. He will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, in Mount Avon Cemetery in Rochester. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

“The group that I started with, I consider them the old ones, they were more concerned with the sanctity of the mail, which we maintained,” Ed Kane said during a Feb. 26 Rochester City Council meeting, where he was recognized for his service.

Kane began his postal career waiting in an alley outside the post office for a mail bus to drop the day’s mail for delivery. Four to five employees would sort mail in a mail bus daily as it would drive round-trip from northern Michigan to the Detroit area, distributing mail to the smaller towns.

It was on his way to work at the post office that Kane’s future wife, Patricia, saw him from her desk at a business across the street.

“I took one look at him and said to myself, ‘I’m gonna marry that man,’” she said.

Over the years, Kane held various positions, including working in the retail lobby of the Rochester post office, where, officials say, he became a customer favorite.

“He did a beautiful job there. He took pride in that,” Pat Kane said.

After over five decades of service, Kane retired from the U.S. Postal Service on Feb. 29, 2024.

“The people of Rochester always thought they were working for a government agency, which they were, but really, they were working for me,” Kane said, with a chuckle during the council meeting. “My job over the years — and I hope I did it — was to take care of it all.”

Pat Kane said her husband became “the face of the Rochester post office.” Everyone knew the guy with the white hair and mustache at the counter.

“He was known for his kindness, his sense of humor, and was always pleasant and helpful. He never forgot anyone and never failed to ask about a kid in college, an ailing grandparent or a vacation. People liked him, and he so enjoyed his years, the people, the community — his home,” Pat Kane said.

Upon hearing of his retirement, over 352 people sent Kane cards of prayers, good wishes and congratulations. Some were from people who moved away from Rochester years ago.

“He has letters and cards from New Mexico, New York, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as some other states as people have heard,” Pat Kane said. “It is more than touching that he touched so many lives.”

Councilmember Marilyn Trent said she “really appreciated his service all these years.”

“When I first moved to Rochester in 1990, Ed and Pat Kane were my neighbors, and it was nice to see a friendly face at the post office that lived down the block from me,” she said.

“Ed has been an absolute institution at the post office. He IS the Rochester post office, and he always will be,” resident Dave Zemens said in a statement.

During the Feb. 26 meeting, Ed Kane thanked community members for filling council chambers to support him.

“It’s much appreciated. Very kind,” he said.

Rochester City Manager Nik Banda said the city made Ed Kane a plaque to take home and gave another plaque honoring him to the post office, which is currently on display.

“I’m sure they will keep that in the lobby forever,” Banda said.

Rochester resident Marlene Stieve, who retired from the Rochester post office in 2022, worked with Ed Kane for many years.

“We hired in together, six months apart, and we worked together for over 50 years. It was just great,” she said. “I couldn’t have found any better person to work with.”

Pat Kane said her husband was known for his kindness and compassion.

“He was a quiet man of grace, dignity and strength wanting little and never asking for anything,” she said.