That’s a wrap: Couple finishing up long careers as UPS drivers

SEYMOUR — The best story that comes to Lisa Weisner’s mind about her career with UPS has nothing to do with a big brown truck.

It involves a right hand drive Datsun Roadster she spotted in the parking lot outside the Columbus UPS facility in March 1988.

She grew up loving cars, and she and her dad would travel up and down the interstates identifying cars as they passed by.

“I had never seen one in my entire life, but it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” Weisner said of the Datsun.

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She ran into the building, where the UPS drivers were gathered. She had only worked there since Christmastime 1987.

“I can just remember saying, ‘I don’t care who owns that car, but if you give it to me, I’ll marry you,’” she said.

Kurt Weisner threw the keys to her and said, “Well, let’s go drive.” They wound up dating for a while before getting married.

“He let me drive that car, and he said, ‘Well, you can drive a package car if you can drive that. This is right hand drive. It is an adjustment to make here in the United States,’” she said. “Yeah, it worked out pretty well, I think. Thirty-one years we’ve been married.”

They still have the Datsun today along with other unique cars at their Columbus home.

Soon, they will have more time to enjoy those cars because they are retiring from UPS. Kurt will finish with 43½ years, and Lisa will have 32 years.

Kurt spent most of his career delivering to downtown Seymour businesses, while Lisa spent the latter part of her career delivering to retailers on the east side of the city and some rural residences.

“He loves his job. I love the job,” Lisa said. “If I physically would be able to do it much longer, I would love to still do it. It breaks you down. This is a hard job.”

When they started, the package weight limit for drivers was 50 pounds. Now, it’s 150 pounds. A couple years ago, Kurt had to have surgery after tearing his rotator cuff and was off work for nine months.

“It’s just the wear and tear on the body,” Kurt said.

Just because they won’t be on the job doesn’t mean the Weisners won’t be around the city.

“We love Seymour, hate leaving Seymour,” Lisa said. “As a matter of fact, we’ll probably still be here. I’m pretty sure we’re going to find something to do down here.”

Starting with UPS

Kurt, 61, grew up in Columbus and had grandparents who lived in Seymour, while Lisa, 55, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but has lived in Columbus since she was 7.

While going to college in Columbus, Kurt started part time with UPS unloading trailers.

Lisa spent three years studying accounting at Indiana University until deciding that wasn’t the field she wanted to be in the rest of her life.

She returned home and was working three part-time jobs when a friend who was a supervisor at UPS asked if she would be interested in being a driver.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll just do this until something better comes along,’ and 32 years later, nothing better has come along yet,” she said, smiling.

Lisa started with a route in Columbus and has spent the past 29 years in Seymour. Her route changed after a reorganization more than 10 years ago, and she averaged making 50 business stops and 70 rural stops.

Kurt has delivered in downtown Seymour for 35 years and wound up having some third-generation business owners on his route.

“I took over from the driver that was down here for 25 years. Downtown Seymour has had two drivers since 1964,” he said. “I’ve always had downtown and the downtown businesses, and then they moved the residential around to even dispatch out. I’m downtown until about 2 o’clock every day, and then I go run behind the high school or Gaiser Park, Kasting Park.”

Working relationship

Working for UPS, Kurt has been able to develop friendships with many people. Some have been so close that he was invited to their wedding or baby shower.

He also was known for giving business owners cupcakes on their birthday. On his 50th birthday, though, the tables were turned. Lisa ordered a few dozen cupcakes and gave them to Melissa Reutter at Tiemeier’s Jewelry, and she gave one to each business to give to Kurt when he came by.

“A lot of my people, I’ve seen them every day,” Kurt said. “It’s just friendships. I’m part of their business. If it’s good for their business, it’s good for me, so I work with them.”

Downtown business owners had good things to say about Kurt.

“He has always spoiled us with quick deliveries, and he is leaving very large shoes to fill,” Reutter said. “Even when he was super slammed and stressed during the holiday seasons, he always was thoughtful and had a smile. Always had a cupcake for my birthday, too.”

Jessica Gross with Exist Salon and Spa thanked Kurt for his many years of delivering heavy packages to the salon and Shoppe 425.

“Best is when we have personal deliveries and he knows we don’t want the husband or kids to see them, so he will think ahead and deliver to the salon,” she said.

A.J. Trimpe with Conner-Smith Eye Center said it’s going to be like family is moving away when Kurt retires. He would join them for pitch-in lunches and bring a dessert.

“If we had any special medications that we needed ASAP, he was always up to making a special stop so a patient could get their treatment on time,” she said. “He gave us such special treatment any time we asked. Kurt worked above and beyond what UPS asked. He never showed us a bad day. He was friendly and fun to have visit. Our office wishes him nothing but the very best.”

The Jackson County Dental team said Kurt is the epitome of a hard and dedicated worker.

“We could never show him how much we appreciate him,” they said. “Over the years, he has become a part of the JCD family. Kurt has always gone above and beyond for our practice and patients. We will miss seeing you and your warm smile every day. You truly are a great person and friend. We wish you nothing but happiness in retirement endeavors.”

Time to retire

Another reason the Weisners stayed with UPS as long as they did is because they were well compensated, which allowed them to pursue another hobby — traveling.

After their last working day, which was Friday, they can do even more traveling. This year, Lisa is going to Italy with a friend, and she and Kurt are going to Orcas Island in Washington; England; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and León, Mexico, and also hope to go to Antarctica.

“We’ve got a lot of traveling to do,” Kurt said.

They have been to Albuquerque before for a hot air balloon festival, which is of interest to Kurt because he’s a crew chief for a friend that has a hot air balloon. He also is a crew chief for a guy who owns a vintage Austin-Healey race car.

On many of their trips, the Weisners take their bicycles.

“We’re going to take our bikes where we go because we’re going to try to stay in shape,” Lisa said. “We want to do the RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) ride again. I’d like to get back into that shape again. We did a 3-mile ride (recently) and thought we were going to die, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Their fleet of cars includes Lisa’s father’s 1958 Chevrolet Impala, a Ford Anglia, Studebakers and some old English and Japanese cars. They like driving them and taking them to car shows.

“We look for the car that no one else has ever seen, and that’s the one we have to have,” Lisa said. “Everyone usually appreciates them because they are usually unusual.”

They also both are into gardening, and Lisa raises monarch butterflies.

“I’ve raised thousands of monarchs,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons that I loved my route was because there was a lot of milkweed out there. (County Road) 1200 East over here is about the best place I’ve ever found to find eggs and caterpillars. It’s great, so I’ll be back in Seymour come that time, I’m sure.”

Lisa said she and Kurt may work again, just not with UPS, and they are interested in pursuing volunteer opportunities.

They also hope to attend community events that they haven’t been able to do in the past because of work, so that will bring them back to Seymour.

“Seymour is growing. It’s amazing the things that are going on down here. I am so tickled. I think we’ll spend a lot of time down here,” Lisa said.

“Downtown Seymour is in the best shape it has ever been,” Kurt said.

The Weisners have two sons, Dustin, who served in the U.S. Marines and now lives in Baghdad where he works for Bell Helicopter and trains Iraqis how to maintain their helicopters, and Alex, who has been a UPS driver for five years.

“On Kurt’s last day, Jan. 17, Alex is going to be jumping with him so Kurt can introduce Alex to his people,” Lisa said.

From that point on, though, you won’t find Kurt or Lisa in a UPS truck.

“At Christmas, you got to see all of your people, so you got to tell everybody goodbye, so it was good,” Lisa said. “I was ready to go because I have so many more things I want to do in life than be in a brown truck.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Meet the Weisners” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Kurt and Lisa Weisner

Ages: He is 61, and she is 55

Hometowns: He is from Columbus, and she was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but has lived in Columbus since she was 7

Residence: Columbus

Occupation: Both are retiring soon from being UPS drivers, which he has done for 43½ years and she has done for 32 years

Family: Sons, Dustin Weisner and Alex Weisner

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