PORT TOWNSEND — Larry Dekker is ready to enjoy a slower-paced life and the view of the sea from the postmaster’s office at the Port Townsend branch of the United States Postal Service.
Dekker, who began work as the branch’s postmaster Monday, has longed to be close to the sea and can now see it every day.
Originally from Eastern Washington, Dekker, 53, got his first taste of Port Townsend when he did route inspections at the branch for a week in 1997. Now, nearly 20 years later, he has the opportunity to run the branch.
“I look out the window here and I see what I love the most,” he said as he looked out over Port Townsend Bay.
Dekker replaced former Acting Postmaster Kathy Kent, who had taken the helm of the post office for 10 months.
Kent had been filling in as postmaster for Arthur “Butch” Marx, the former postmaster who had faced assault-related charges.
A judge dismissed the two felony charges and Marx was acquitted of two lesser charges during a December jury trial.
“We are in the process of terminating him in accordance with applicable labor laws,” said USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson.
Though Dekker doesn’t yet have a house in Port Townsend, he and his wife do have a two-year plan. Until then, he’ll be commuting back to their home on the weekends.
During weekdays, Dekker plans to live aboard his 37.5-foot sailboat, named the Shelly Marie for his sister-in-law who passed away in September.
He said he is mooring the boat in Port Ludlow because there is a wait list in Port Townsend.
He got his first taste of living aboard his boat Sunday night when he woke up to another boat that had run aground at about midnight, he said.
“I spent an hour-and-a-half or so trying to help tie some lines so they didn’t capsize while waiting for high tide to come in,” he said. “It was kind of a sleepless night.”
He also discovered the challenge of ironing shirts in a boat that is rocking in the water.
He was previously the manager at the Bainbridge Island branch of the postal service and lived in West Seattle. He has been with the postal service for 28 years.
Now, he is enjoying getting out of Seattle, slowing down a little bit, and spending more time on the water.
“Most of my career has been spent operating at 60 plus miles per hour all the time,” he said.
“When I’m out on the water … it’s quiet. You get out of the rat race and let life actually happen.”
On his first day, Dekker could already tell that Port Townsend was a bit different than Bainbridge Island. He said it’s a more relaxed tempo that he is looking forward to.
During a customer appreciation event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the post office, 1322 Washington St., the community will have a chance to meet Dekker and tour the post office.
The customer appreciation day includes refreshments, tours and postal-related literature.
“We’ll be giving tours of the facility and showing some stuff people don’t normally get to see,” he said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected].