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On the Shoulders of Giants
By Karen Balent Young, editor; photos by Bob Stevens
On Wednesday morning, March 30, NAPS Headquarters held a dedication ceremony to honor three former resident officers: Margarete A. Grant, Ted Keating and Louis Atkins. The conference room at NAPS Headquarters was renamed the Margarete A. Grant Executive Board Conference Room. Keating and Atkins were honored with plaques in the conference room.
Margarete served as NAPS executive vice president from 1992 to 1998. She joined NAPS in 1971. She served as vice president for three and a half years and president for two for Oakland, CA, Branch 127. She served as legislative representative for San Francisco Branch 88 before being elected Pacific Area vice president in 1980.
In 1982, Margarete was elected Western Region vice president. Then, in 1986, she was elected NAPS secretary/treasurer—the first woman elected as a resident officer. She was elected executive vice president in 1992 and served until 1998, when she retired. She continued working for the Postal Service another year until finally retiring. She died July 18, 2003.
Western Region Vice President Marilyn Walton told attendees at the ceremony that Margarete was her mentor and friend. Perhaps one of her most substantive achievements as a resident officer was her work in purchasing the NAPS building. When NAPS voted to purchase a building, Margarete researched buying property as a nonprofit and attended the auction where the building came up for sale.
As a result of her and the other resident officers’ efforts, the building was purchased. It has continued to increase in value.
Marilyn credited Margarete as being instrumental in getting women involved in NAPS. Margarete’s great friend, former Western Region Vice President Dorotha Bradley, is ecstatic at having Margarete honored, Marilyn conveyed. “The women of NAPS and the Western Region are here in spirit for this incredible honor,” she said.
Ted served as NAPS president from 2004 to 2010. He joined NAPS in 1974 as a member of Northeastern Massachusetts District Branch 498. He served on the Massachusetts State Branch board for 15 years, nine of those as secretary/treasurer. He served as New England Area vice president for nine years before being elected NAPS executive vice president in 1998. He was appointed president in 2004 on the death of then President Vince Palladino. He was elected president in 2006.
Ted was unable to attend the dedication ceremony. President Ivan D. Butts spoke on his behalf, having talked to him by phone. Ted expressed that he never had aspirations to be president; rather, he was committed to supporting Vince Palladino in his endeavors.
“Ted is tremendously honored to be recognized at the same time as Margarete,” Ivan said. “She supported Ted in his career. When she decided to retire, Margarete told Ted he would have her vote in the West. He had great respect for her.”
Louis Atkins was NAPS president from 2010 to 2016. He joined NAPS in 1975. He served as secretary of Baton Rouge, LA, Branch 209 in 1980 and became president in 1984. He was elected Central Gulf Area vice president in 1990 and Southern Region vice president in 1998.
Louis was elected NAPS secretary/treasurer in 2000. In 2004, Ted Keating appointed Louis executive vice president. He was elected in 2006 and served in that position until 2010, when Ted retired. Louis was elected president in 2010, becoming NAPS’ first Black president. He served as president until he retired in 2016.
Louis told NAPS members it is a blessing to be associated with so many great people and all the NAPS members. He credited his wife Bonita for encouraging his aspiration to be president. “Beside that plaque,” Louis pronounced, “there should be a lot more names.”
He said Margarete was a mentor to him, as well. “Ted was my leader and we collaborated for the good of the members,” he observed. “It’s a blessing to have everyone here with me on this blessed day.”
After the remarks, the conference room doors and plaques were unveiled.