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Aurora Post Office named in honor of former letter carrier

Oct 12, 2016
In The News

When Richard Durbin first ran for the U.S. Senate years ago, his very first campaign stop was at a conference of the Illinois State Association of Letter Carriers.

He was nervous, as he was a newcomer to statewide politics and had several primary opponents.

But he remembers to this day that it was Ken Christy who stood up and moved to have the letter carriers endorse Durbin for the Senate seat.

"He was a special person," Durbin said Wednesday, at a ceremony officially naming the Aurora Post Office building on North Broadway after Christy. "He dedicated his life to the Postal Service, to his family and to his friends, over many years."

Post office naming

Durbin joined other officials, including U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, and Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, at the dedication, which was dotted at times with rain, thunder and the loud, shrill sound of the lightning alarm at nearby River Edge Park.

At one point, Weisner noted that Christy had been a big Chicago Cubs fan, and that after the team's division series winner Tuesday night in San Francisco, "I know Ken is looking down with a big smile on his face."

"He was a regular guy, but he was no ordinary man," Weisner said.

It was Foster who started the impetus to name the Post Office building after Christy, with help from Durbin in the Senate. Foster pointed out that the effort gained unanimous support in both houses of Congress.

"He was deeply committed to working families in Aurora and across Illinois," Foster said. "He was always there to lend a helping hand to those who needed it."

Christy retired as a letter carrier 2011. He successfully ran for a four-year term for Aurora Township clerk as a Democrat in 2013.Christy, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Bellwood, lived in Aurora for 59 years. After working in management for a national grocery chain, he became a letter carrier in Aurora and worked there for 31 years. He served as president for the local National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 219 in Aurora for 25 years.

Christy continued his work as an advocate for letter carriers as president of Illinois State Association of Letter Carriers until his death. In 2012, he was elected to the Illinois Hall of Fame for Letter Carriers.

He died in March at age 71, someone "who was taken too soon," Foster said.

"I consider myself lucky to have called him a friend," he said.