Beloved Elburn pharmacist retires






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ELBURN—For the first time in 33 years, Ken Gustafson doesn’t have to fill prescriptions this week.

The longtime Elburn pharmacist—at the local Osco and previously the owner of Gliddon Pharmacy—filled his last pill bottle on Saturday.

For 25 years, Gustafson and his wife, Mary, owned and operated the Gliddon Pharmacy in Elburn, sometimes working as many as 80 hours a week to meet the needs of the growing community.

“We could never take a family vacation, because one of us had to be here to fill prescriptions,” Ken said. “Mary would take a couple of days off and vacation with the boys, then I would take a couple of days off and go somewhere else.”

Their sons, now ages 28 and 31, worked at the store, as well.

“Sometimes I regret missing baseball games when they were growing up,” Ken said. “But when you own a business, you have to be there.”

Like his father-in-law, who previously owned Gliddon Pharmacy, Ken said their home phone number was available to the answering service in case a customer had an emergency.

“That’s what small towns are all about,” he said. “Your customers become your friends; you get to know their families.”

When Osco offered to buy out the Gustafsons and hire them nearly eight years ago, he said he was ready to slow down a little and only work 40 hours a week.

“It was kinda nice,” Ken said. “When we sold the store, some of our customers had a fundraiser and raised enough to send us on a cruise.”

Ken said his wife retired from the pharmacy about four years ago to care for her ailing father. She still works at Osco as a clerk.

According to Ken, Mary grew up as the “chief ice cream taster” for the soda fountain in her father’s pharmacy. The two met after being hired as advertising salespeople for the Elburn Herald. They dated, married and returned to pharmacy school, eventually buying her father’s store.

“People ask how we can work together, but she’s my best friend and partner,” Ken said.

Mary comes from a family of pharmacists who formerly owned stores in Hampshire, Genoa, Kirkland and Lena, all in Illinois.

“(Mary’s) mother wanted to be a pharmacist, but women just didn’t do that back then, so she went to nursing school,” Ken said. “Today, there are more women pharmacists than men.”

Ken said he plans to enjoy a relaxing holiday season and then decide on his next chapter. Active in the American Legion and Elburn Lions Club, Ken is considering a part-time job to stay active and busy.


Source Article from http://www.elburnherald.com/38466/2014/12/26/beloved-elburn-pharmacist-retires/
Beloved Elburn pharmacist retires
http://www.elburnherald.com/38466/2014/12/26/beloved-elburn-pharmacist-retires/
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