2018-04-11 / Front Page

Bill carries the mail at 97!

Sandusky postmaster swears him in
BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com


Ninety-seven-year-old Bill Wideman, formerly of Worth Township, sports his new honorary mailman’s cap, apron, and satchel. Bill is currently living at the Stonegate Village Assisted Living facility where he delivers mail to the residents in the complex. 
Photo by Steven Kovac Ninety-seven-year-old Bill Wideman, formerly of Worth Township, sports his new honorary mailman’s cap, apron, and satchel. Bill is currently living at the Stonegate Village Assisted Living facility where he delivers mail to the residents in the complex. Photo by Steven Kovac About 25 well-wishers gathered at Stonegate Village Assisted Living in Sandusky April 3, for the “swearing-in” of 97-year-old Bill Wideman as the facility’s not-quite-official mailman.

“The ceremony for Bill came at the suggestion of volunteer Jim Hale,” said Kate Meyers, Stonegate’s Life Enrichment Director.

“Some time ago, I thought delivering mail would be a good way of keeping Bill busy, so we trained him to do it. With his sweet personality, he’s about the only person you would enjoy getting a bill from.”

“I take the out-going mail to our mailbox near the door,” explained Bill. “I also pick up the in-coming mail, take it to Kate’s office, sort it out by room number, and deliver it. I’ve got three different routes in here.”


Bill Wideman is ceremonially “sworn-in” as Stonegate’s unofficial indoor mail carrier by Sandusky Postmaster Sandy Foote. 
Photo by Steven Kovac Bill Wideman is ceremonially “sworn-in” as Stonegate’s unofficial indoor mail carrier by Sandusky Postmaster Sandy Foote. Photo by Steven Kovac Meyers told the gathering, “Bill is very much appreciated by all of us. He is loved around here. He’s a special guy.”

A smiling Wideman shot back in response, “She called me ‘stubborn’ when I first got here. That’s when I knew I liked her, right then and there.”

Administering the oath to Wideman was Sandusky Postmaster Sandy Foote, who was accompanied by Post Office Operations Manager for the Detroit District, Sid Thompson, who had previously served as Sandusky postmaster.

The two presented Wideman, a retired electrician, with an official letter carrier’s hat and satchel.

Meyers presented Bill with a postal apron decorated especially for him by the graphics design class at the Sanilac Career Center. On the pocket it says, “Bill the Mailman.”

Wideman also displayed his plastic badge and pointed out his mail delivery cart which he pushes around on his route through the hallways.

Following the ceremony, Bill invited the News to his room to look at some of his Second World War memorabilia.

He served in the Navy in the Pacific as an electrician aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Cabot, a converted cruiser.

Wideman proudly showed the Presidential Unit Citation presented to the crew of the Cabot and the air groups attached to the ship.

The citation reads in part, “For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, ashore, and afloat in the Pacific War Area from January 29, 1944 to April 8, 1945.”

Wideman also keeps a list of the numerous engagements he and his shipmates fought in, including the Marshall Islands, Truk, the Marianas Islands, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, to name just a few.

The chronology also lists participation in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the place in the Philippians where U.S. General Douglas MacArthur famously waded ashore to celebrate the successful American amphibious landing there.

Shortly thereafter, Wideman’s ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze airplane.

The Cabot was soon repaired and was enroute for the invasion of Japan when the war ended in August 1945.

“I guess Uncle Sam kept us pretty busy,” said Bill with a smile.

According to Meyers, Bill and wife Jean moved into Stonegate together three years ago. Jean passed away about a month later.

The couple had been married 73 years. They have two children, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. The group includes Bill II, Bill III, and Bill IV.

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