The Jackie Anderson Strange Story
Dr. Strange is the former Deputy Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service where she served as alternate Postmaster General from 1985-1987 and on the Board of Governors. The only woman to ever serve in this position, she managed the world’s largest non-military workforce of 800,000 employees and a $32 billion budget. Dr. Strange entered the Postal Service as a student at Georgia Southern University and worked her way up the career ladder, pioneering the way for women in postal management in the United States as well as Australia.
When Dr. Strange retired from the postal service in 1987, she received the Benjamin Franklin Award, the highest honor given to postal executives, and $10,000, the Postmaster’s General Award for Excellence. She was recognized for her forty years of service and attaining unprecedented service standards as Deputy Postmaster General. Additionally, all Postal Manager Associations and Postal Unions declared and celebrated her day of retirement as “Jackie A. Strange Day.” Dr. Strange was the recipient of The Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award from Southern Methodist University and the Perkins School of Theology on March 5, 2011. The award is presented annually to a layperson who embodies the Christian faith and commitment of service to Christ through stewardship, witness, and service in the church, community, and world. The award is named for Judge Woodrow B. Seals, whose interest and energy were instrumental in establishing Perkins Theological School for the Laity in 1973.
In addition to the Seals Award from Perkins, Dr. Strange has received numerous honors, including her selection as the first graduate of Georgia Southern University, her alma mater, to receive its honorary doctorate degree. Her historic career is prominently featured in the postal museum’s website article on “Women in the U.S. Postal Service.” Her memoir, “Ms. Deputy Postmaster General: How Trusted Leadership, Courage, & Innovations Impacted the Postal Service,” was published in 2010.
Being raised in a very loving family she was known to attend every church activity offered during the week, in a very small town in Georgia. Her father was respected in the community and often sought out for his wisdom and guidance. Her mother was a small but mighty woman caring for her family and church community. Dr. Strange learned about caring for others early in her life and this became a critical aspect of her character and destiny. She taught Sunday school to adults when she was only 12 years old, probably wiser than some, taller than most, and more credible than others. Their home was the magnet that enabled the family to help others in times of need, spiritual and otherwise. Dr. Strange accommodated these traits, weaving them into a very unique ability to be astute and generous in her skill to problem solve, and to lead others in their unique life journeys.
As Dr. Strange began her adult life she channeled her upbringing and traits which she reflected upon during encounters both personally and professionally. While in college at Georgia Southern University she joined the Post Office Department as a temporary clerk in 1946 working her way up through the system. Rising from work as a temporary clerk, she was promoted to Postmaster, then acting manager of mail operations, followed by a number of regional and district management positions such as Assistant Postmaster in Procurement and Supply and Regional Postmaster General for the Southern Region and finally as Deputy Postmaster General in 1985.
As life continued to grant Dr. Strange the opportunity to be a humanitarian in the community she co-founded Pittman Park United Methodist Church across the street from Georgia Southern University in June, 1956. She was instrumental in contributing her talents to the establishment of the church which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. Zach S. Henderson, one of the churches co-founders and past president of Georgia Southern University, was honored by Dr. Strange when she later established a student scholarship fund for students desiring to become teachers. She also established the Jackie A. Strange Scholarship at administered Georgia Southern University for students with disabilities.
Dr. Strange stated, “As I was promoted to positions, I worked really hard to identify other women who showed they had the capability of being managers.” In fact, her efforts were so effective the Australian Postmaster General invited her to help him improve the status for women in the Australian postal service. The program was so successful that it spread to all other government agencies. Throughout her executive career and forty years of service with the United States Postal Service there was one management philosophy she practiced: “Create an environment for innovation. Respect is reciprocal. Earn it”. After retirement from the Postal Service, she served as CEO and President of Senator Bob Dole’s Foundation for People with Disabilities.
In her book, “Ms. Deputy Postmaster General: How Trusted Leadership, Courage, & Innovations Impacted the Postal Service,” Dr. Strange revisits her life of service and her dedication to humanity. Her journey from Georgia Teachers College’s tiny post office to the halls of leadership at the United States Postal Service headquarters in Washington, DC, was savored each day as she climbed to the highest position any woman has ever held in the Service to this date.
Dr. Strange now devotes her time to painting, composing, designing dresses and writing poetry. She is near her sons, Dan and Nick, and daughter-in-law, Ellyn, and enjoying her time with family. Retirement is a figure of speech for Dr. Strange as she prepares for the Stamp Dedication Ceremony for the “Mark Twain Stamp” scheduled to be released in June, 2011. The ceremony will be held at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington and Dr. Strange will be the keynote speaker for this national event.