Sirotti retires, this time from Highwood Post Office
Granddaughters Skylar Brown, 7, (left) and Autumn Brown, 4, wait for John Sirotti to arrive at Buffo's in Highwood for his retirement party. Sirotti, former mayor of Highwood, retired from his job as a postal clerk. | Ray Whitehouse~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2013 7:28PM
HIGHWOOD — The last time John Sirotti “retired,” it wasn’t exactly by choice.
He’d served as mayor of the City of Highwood for 12 years, and voters decided to impose their own three-term limit when they cast their ballots in 2005.
Last week, Sirotti retired for real — this time from his longtime job at the Highwood Post Office. Though he didn’t give family and friends much notice, they quickly put together a farewell at Buffo’s restaurant in Highwood on Jan. 31, his final day with the post office.
Not even 20 when he started working as a postal carrier, Sirotti at age 58 is taking advantage of early retirement incentives the post office is using to shed workers. He spent the first two decades of his nearly 40-year career as a mail carrier before moving behind the counter as a postal clerk.
Friend and former co-worker Steve Bartolai said Sirotti is the last of a breed of Highwood postal workers who grew up in the city and stayed there. Bartolai said he also was a great mayor and Highwood alderman.
“His decision-making was remarkable,” said Bartolai. “Instead of making rash decisions, he would take his time and hash out every angle in making the right one. Everyone liked him because he was all about Highwood. Just like working at the Highwood post office, he really cared.”
Asked if he might run again for municipal office, Sirotti dismissed the idea without hesitation, though he’s proud of his mayoral accomplishments. Those include major improvements to the water plant and distribution system that had seen only “Band-Aid” fixes for 60 years; and extensive infrastructure improvements along Sheridan Road.
Daughter Dawn Brown, now 35, said she couldn’t really appreciate those civic contributions during her grade school and teenage years.
“I felt like the mayor’s office was pulling him away,” said Brown. “Now, looking back on it, I realize how much he did.”
An avid woodworker who worked as a carpenter’s apprentice in high school, Sirotti envisions possibly working in a hardware or home improvement store as his next career.