Jefferson Wilson, the first African-American postmaster in San Francisco, died at his home in San Francisco on Sept. 11, SFGate.com reports. Wilson, who succumbed to natural causes, served as San Francisco's postmaster from 1980 to 1985. He was 82.
"He was our Barack Obama," Helen Turner, a Postal Service employee who knew Wilson well, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "He was never afraid to go out on the working floor in his shirtsleeves and talk to the employees. He never forgot where he came from."
During his 36-year career at the Postal Service, Wilson climbed from his entry-level job to the top spot. As postmaster, he was responsible for 9,000 employees with an annual payroll of $275 million. He retired in 1985 and started a second career in real estate in San Francisco's Diamond Heights neighborhood.
The Galveston, Texas, native was born in 1926 and attended local schools and Southern University.