Perhaps it is a sense of wonder that has led Oak Bluffs postmaster Paul Leonard to handle his job these last 25 years with such aplomb and composure.

Maybe it is the pride in his work, which has earned him the wide admiration of the many people who stop in to the wood-paneled post office in Healey Square each day to get their mail.

“I have always found it extremely interesting, unimaginable in my mind, that we can take two letters,” Mr. Leonard said. “We can take one, put a 50-cent stamp on it and send it to Vineyard Haven. It gets there the next day. We put that same 50-cent stamp on a letter and send it to Hawaii, that’s there in two to three days. Same price, great service. It just amazes me the infrastructure that’s set up to make that work, over and over and over again. I still find that amazing.”

Mr. Leonard, 62, retired from the U.S. Postal Service on June 1. In his 35-year career, first in Vineyard Haven and then in Oak Bluffs, he made many friends. On an Island where griping about the local post office branch is practically a sanctioned sport, Mr. Leonard has managed to maintain the image of the Oak Bluffs post office as a place of efficiency and order, always willing to help find a lost package or explain the vagaries of a complex mail system.

He said he will miss the people he has come to know over the years.

“Tremendous sadness,” Mr. Leonard said. “But I also know it’s time. The decision feels right, it really does. I go back and forth, but bottom line is, everything about it feels good, except for the fact my whole life is changing. People I see on a daily basis I won’t see on a daily basis, but it’s the right time.”

Oak Bluffs is a non-delivery post office, in the sometimes nonsensical bureacrat-ese of the post office. That means no mail is sent out for delivery. Instead, it is all channeled into row after row of old post office boxes, most with antiquated combination locks.

In any one day, the Oak Bluffs post office may deliver 5,000 letters and 400 packages to patrons who come to the facility.

“People come to us,” Mr. Leonard said. “We’re seeing the same people day in, day out. We’re part of their routine. Here, we get a lot of face to face, and I think that really helps. They’ve been pretty understanding, they’ve been pretty patient with us. They stay in touch with us, which makes the job easier.”

In many towns, where old post offices have outgrown their space and been replaced by modern facilities away from the town center, the personal nature of the service is diminished. Mr. Leonard said his location in the heart of the downtown neighborhood has kept the Oak Bluffs post office a center of activity. If you want to hand out a flier, campaign for office, or just meet your neighbors, the post office is the place.

“Being in the center of town keeps us a fabric of the community,” he said. “It’s a meeting place. People come, if it’s a nice day they’re going to spend some time outside, rainy day they’re going to spend a little more time inside. It’s a place to meet, a place to greet, a place to have short pleasantries, exchange things. It has an atmosphere of being very friendly. That, more than anything, is the people of Oak Bluffs.”

When asked about highlights in his career, he doesn’t have to go far back in time. He says he inherited his emotional gene from his father, and he struggles to maintain composure when he thinks of all the people who stopped by in his final week on the job to offer congratulations, who sent him cards and letters, or offered a personal tribute.

“I would use the word overwhelming,” Mr. Leonard said. “I just came here to do a job to the best of my abilities. I was working with a community I knew, so it was easy for me. Just the way relationships have grown throughout the years. Some of these people I’ve known my whole life. A lot of the people I’ve become acquainted with, some are just here for the summer, so I know when they’re coming in, I know when they’re leaving. They share a little bit about their family, how their winter has been. Friends I grew up with, now they’re part of the community, and they have children. Many of aspects have made this job special, but certainly the people, and the way they associate with us.”

Mr. Leonard is very much looking forward to some time off, and unlike his work days over the past 35 years, it won’t be too rigidly structured.

“Taking the summer off, gonna get to know Martha’s Vineyard again. Gonna fish a little, golf a little, spend some time with the family, spend some time with company that comes down. It’s always been I gotta go to work, can’t go there with you. Now I’m gonna get to do those things, for the summer.”

At the end of the summer, he plans a trip to Wisconsin, with a stop in Ohio to see his grandchildren. But even that is not all that rigidly planned.

“We didn’t make a boat reservation,” he said. “We don’t have to get back.”