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Staying close to his roots

Jurecka leads staff at Tioga post office, near Pilot Point home

Jerry Jurecka is proof you can go home again. In fact, you don’t really ever have to leave.

The Pilot Point native has spent his entire career with the United States Postal System and has never left the confines of north Texas since he joined the USPS at age 19.

He is currently in his third month as postmaster at the Tioga Post Office, after spending the previous seven years as postmaster at Collinsville.

Jurecka said he enjoys being closer to his residence in Pilot Point, where he can go home for lunch each day.

“It was harder to do that in Collinsville, but now I can just run down the road, grab a bite and it’s a lot more convenient,” he said.

Jurecka’s parents were also Pilot Point grads, and he spent his formative years here. His dad was a banker before taking on a postal career of his own, and his mom was the former owner of Pilot Point Florist. Jurecka has one brother, Marcus, who lives in Arkansas.

He said growing up here was a “fun time in a small town with good people” and provided him with a desire to raise his own family locally.

“I remember the square was pretty full of businesses,” he said. “A lot of people would go up there on the weekends and hang out. That’s about all there was to do.”

Jurecka played football throughout his high school career. He was a freshman and sophomore on the back to back State Championship teams in 1980 and 1981. G.A. Moore was his coach, and “I still think the world of that man,” Jurecka said.

Playing tight end and defensive end, he was part of some heartbreaking playoff losses his final two seasons. The Cats fell to Eastland when Jurecka was a junior and then his senior season ended with a 13-13 playoff tie to eventual champ Boyd, who advanced to the next round.

“Eastland beat us with 11 seconds left on a touchdown and 2-point conversion,” he said. “The Boyd game really hurt too. You don’t forget things like that. It still kind of hurts when you look back and think about it.”

Jurecka said his dad was a rural carrier in the second part of his career and retired from the USPS. His father encouraged him to join the USPS, and after a year at Grayson College, he did so.

“I started in June of 1985 and been with them ever since,” Jurecka said.

Jurecka’s USPS career has taken him to Richardson, Allen, to the Pilot Point Post Office as a clerk and later as officer in charge, as well as “about four stops as postmaster” at various north Texas locations.

“I still know just about everybody at the Pilot Point Post Office,” Jurecka said. “Worked with them for years.”

In addition to having just celebrated his 35th year with the USPS, Jurecka is also about to hit his 30th anniversary with his wife, Angie, who is from east Texas originally.

The two met on a whim, bumping into each other during separate vacations to Cozumel in 1990.

“She was there with her friends, and I was down there with some of my friends,” he said. “It was her last night there, and we kinda got to talking and hit it off. I got her number, and we stayed in touch and started dating. We met that July and got married that December. She’s still putting up with me somehow.”

The Jureckas have three children, Tristan, 24, Victoria, 21, and Delaney, 18, who just graduated from Pilot Point.

Is it possible any of the children will make it three generations of Jurecka postal employees?

“Nah, they have their own career paths they’re looking forward to,” he said, laughing.

Jurecka said his line of work has changed quite a bit during the past 35 years. He’s seen a decrease in letters and catalogs, but “a huge uptick in parcels and tracking things by computer” as online shopping has changed the face of retail.

“I remember back in the day, it would be a huge deal to have 30 or 35 parcels around Christmastime,” he said. “You look now, and we probably do 200 parcels a day here. The larger post offices, obviously, do a lot more. And a lot less letters, with so much email now. That’s been a big change.”

Jurecka affirmed the USPS remains a good way to make a living and said his advice to a young person looking to enter the field is simple.

“Just stay persistent and have a good work ethic,” he said. “There are opportunities out there if you’re willing to start small and move up.”

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