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Jamaica’s postmaster says good-bye to SE Queens

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After 43 years of loyal service and threats to quit for the past 12 years, Jamaica’s postmaster, Gino Gentilini, has finally ended his illustrious career with the United States Post Office.

Gentilini, 67, who worked his way up through the ranks after joining the post office on Nov. 15, 1958 as a letter carrier, said goodbye to more than 400 family members and friends at his retirement celebration at Antun’s in Queens Village Sunday.

“The biggest emotional aspect of retiring is leaving my postal family,” he said. “How do I say goodbye? I consider you all my friends and family.”

Gentilini’s life is tied to Jamaica and southeast Queens even though a few years ago he moved from the borough to Long Island. He was born in Jamaica two months after his parents immigrated to the United States from Romalo, Italy. He grew up at 105th Avenue and Liverpool Street and attended PS 50 followed by John Adams HS.

After a couple of supermarket jobs and a stint in the Army, Gentilini started as a letter carrier in St. Albans. Soon after he began his rise to the Jamaica’s postmaster post, stopping along the way in supervisory positions at post offices in Queens Village, South Ozone Park, Cambria Heights and Long Island City before becoming the 26th Jamaica postmaster in February 1993.

Lily Jung, the post office’s Triboro district manager, described Gentilini as one of the most distinguished postmasters to serve in the Triboro district. She said the retirement celebration was not just a party but a tribute to Gentilini’s management style and leadership.

She credited him with providing guidance, wisdom, and knowledge to everybody who came into contact with him.

“May your retirement be like an Italian bread — long and full of dough,” she said. And presented him with a plaque for the exemplary service he provided to the post office during his long career.

“This is a day of mixed emotions,” said Dora Young, New York City deputy clerk. “You are always happy when a person retires, but Gino has become part of the family, the Jamaica post office’s security blanket. Under his leadership he inspired people to give it their all.”

She said Gentilini was special because he provided a large number of opportunities for minorities and women.

“I think he brought the word ‘diversity’ to the post office,” she said. “Dr. Martin Luther King would have been proud of you. We will never forget the respect and how you honored our community. We will miss you.”

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis), who worked with Gentilini over the years, said he tried to promote diversity in the post office, but more needs to be done. “He did as much as he could as an individual,” Comrie said.

Thomas Daniels Sr., the Jamaica post office’s customer relations coordinator, described Gentilini as a caring man who was concerned about the post office and the southeast Queens community. Gentilini, he said, even organized classes for young people to help them study and take the civil service exam.

“The Jamaica post office without Gino Gentilini,” Daniels said, “is like a letter without a stamp.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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