NAMPA, Idaho (AP) Darlyne Markus, 83, has been delivering papers for more than 54 years a decade longer than any other woman on record. But, saddening many of her customers, the Guinness World Record holder has retired, delivering her last paper Sunday before most people were even awake.
Markus, of Nampa, loved her job, she said, but never set out to break a world record.
"It's a good feeling, but at first I never even thought of it. It's just something I did because I enjoyed it, it was healthy for me," Markus said.
The route carried her through a dark time in life, she said. As a young mother who had lost a baby boy six years prior and had undergone a hysterectomy that caused nervous breakdowns, Markus said she needed something to get her out of the house. So, at age 29, she accepted a part-time paper route job in the afternoons with Idaho Free Press, now the Idaho Press-Tribune .
She's been working the night shift for about 20 years, traveling 43 miles each night, seven nights a week, often with the help of her husband, Bruce, the former Canyon County assessor. They haven't been on vacation in years.
You won't find Markus patting herself on the back, even though she drove the route each night, through holidays, storms and sickness. Her daughter Nancy Salisbury says she doesn't know how Mom did it.
"No matter how sick she was, she'd go," Salisbury said.
"I just felt like it was my job," Markus responded, "and I've never had to have the company cover my route. . I've always rented a car (if needed) and done it myself."
All the praise and attention made Markus laugh.
"Oh look at me, aren't I awesome?" she joked with a big grin on her face.
Laughter is no stranger in the Markus household. Looking back over her mom's career, Salisbury said it's the "goofball stuff" she remembers most.
"We've always had humor. If we didn't, we'd have been down a long time ago," Markus said. "... We enjoy life. You know what, if you don't laugh, you don't got much. No matter what your circumstances are, if you can laugh, then you're OK."
She laughed a lot with her customers, too, especially in the old days when she collected the delivery fees from them face to face.
"My people like me," she said with a smile. "... They feel like I've been dependable."
They don't want her to quit, she said, but they understand it's time. About eight of her customers have been with her from the start.
"She was always, always concerned about customers," Salisbury said. "If she got a call that somehow they got missed, she would be in the car, in her robe, in her slippers, jetting the paper out to them."
Markus trusts she's leaving her customers in good hands with the new carrier.
"I want my people taken care of," she said.
Without the 1-4 a.m. route, Markus said she's excited to sleep straight through the night again, go out with friends in the evening and go to church.
Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune