Spellman, manager of the mailroom, retires from Texas Wesleyan after 38 years

Douglas Spellman says he enjoyed managing the mailroom and will miss the students. (Veida Dima)

Douglas Spellman was the manager of the mailroom where he spent time sorting mail and interacting with students and staff members. After 38 years of working at Texas Wesleyan University, Spellman retired in January.

He has served the southern Fort Worth community since he was a young man. Soon after graduating high school, Spellman became a marine. While deployed in Vietnam, he bravely saved a fellow soldier and was honored with the Navy Commendation Medal. Once he returned home, he served as a police officer with the Fort Worth Police Department for 5 years.

Douglas Spellman was featured in a news article published by The Rambler about his service in Vietnam. (Veida Dima)

At this point, Spellman was a family man with children and wanted to focus on their future. A friend of his who already worked at Texas Wesleyan suggested he apply.

“The main thing was the tuition waiver at that time. My daughter was maybe 5 years old. And, I had another friend that was working maintenance and he said, if you work there, your kids can go tuition-free, you know. I went for that,” he said.

In 1983, Spellman started with the maintenance department where he fulfilled requests that took him all over campus. He also fulfilled the role of mail clerk and picked up the mail from the post office for the mailroom to sort.

It was ironic that he started his career at Wesleyan picking up the mail and came full circle, ending it as the manager of the mailroom. However, his journey at Texas Wesleyan did not stay in the mailroom. His other adventures were discovered in the Eunice & James L. West Library where he worked for 20 years.

“I enjoyed [working in the library] too, because I got a chance to interact with the students and the faculty and staff quite a bit. And plus, I learned a lot, you know, working in the collections and all the different departments,” Spellman said.

Library visitors would have seen Spellman as the supervisor of the circulation desk, working as a fine arts technician, in the periodical department, or cataloging – back when everything was on paper.

“I learned quite a bit working in the library. About the school and about different things in general, you know, just being exposed to the information and stuff. That was very informative, I would say, but I liked it,” he said.

His favorite position was as manager of the mailroom. Although he wasn’t interacting with as many faculty in the basement of the library, he was able to meet and connect with the students on a daily basis.

Sophomore Arletth Fraga picks up mail once or twice a week. She says Douglas Spellman was kind and patient with students. (Veida Dima)

“I have been a mailroom student assistant for almost two years now and I worked with Mr. Doug that entire time. Doug was the nicest man you will meet,” said accounting major Sierra Reich. She felt impressed that he always supported his student workers. Reich misses when Spellman would bring the mailroom workers donut holes from his favorite donut shop.

As a new Wesleyan student, senior psychology major and Rams basketball player Tianna Tullis looked forward to seeing Spellman when she picked up her mail. She recalled, “He would always ask how my day was going and made sure everything was good before leav[ing] the mail area.”

She misses his kindness and was impressed with how Spellman always spread happiness to students. “Asking someone how their day is going can go a long way for them especially if it isn’t a good day. He would always have some nice words to say,” Tullis said.

Spellman spoke with pride as he discussed the original purpose of working at Texas Wesleyan– his children. Working at a college campus helped pay for his daughter to attend. Angela Rainey attended the university and graduated with a B.B.A in Finance in 1997.

But, before she was a college student, Rainey would join her middle school and high school clubs or class group at the second floor of the library to work on homework together. She was influenced at a young age by her father’s time at the library.

Rainey followed in her father’s footsteps and started working at Wesleyan in 2017. She is currently a coordinator for the School of Health Professors.

“There is something about this place and these people,” Spellman said about being an employee at the university. “It really becomes a part of you.”

The first thing Spellman scheduled after retirement was rest and recuperation. When people ask about his retirement plan, he says he will do as much of nothing as possible, calling it his “energy conservation plan.” When he relaxes, he mainly enjoys catching up on old movies and sitcoms.

Spellman also plans on traveling and visiting relatives that live far away. He wants to continue serving the community through volunteering with Meals on Wheels or other similar programs.

“I realized that number one, that I’m blessed. And number two, in order to achieve, you have to be willing to work. You have to be willing to endure also and persevere in spite of, you know, and if you do those things and what is due to you will come to you.”