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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Pharmacist worked 54 years

LIMA, Ohio - Jack D. Stower, 82, a longtime pharmacist in Lima and Tiffin who volunteered to teach foreign students to read English and give brochures to Lima tourists, died Sunday in Lima Memorial Hospital.

He had been diagnosed with cancer less than a month ago, his son, Jack D. Stower II, said.

Mr. Stower was a pharmacist for 54 years. After he retired, he continued to fill-in occasionally for vacationing pharmacists.

After graduating from Ohio Northern University, Ada, and marrying the former Virginia Andrus in the early 1940s, he worked in her father's store, Andrus Rexall, at East Market and Washington streets in downtown Tiffin.

He joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the supply ship, the USS Lackawanna. He was in the Navy about two years before his discharge in 1946.

He remained in the Navy Reserves until 1953, but returned to Tiffin to the drug store, which grew to include a shop, also called Andrus Rexall, in the Westgate Mall. His wife operated Ginny's Card Shop nearby in the mall for about five years during the 1960s.

When his father-in-law, Lloyd Andrus, died in the mid 1960s, the mall drug store was sold to SuperX and the downtown store closed.

Through the affiliation with SuperX, Mr. Stower moved about 1970 to Lima, where he was a pharmacist at its store in the American Mall. In the 1980s, he worked at Lane Drug in the Kmart Plaza, Union Prescription Center on Lima's east side, and in the pharmacy at the state prison there.

In retirement, he filled in at Village Pharmacy in Cridersville, Ohio, and at Wal-Mart pharmacies in northwest Ohio.

After his wife, Virginia, died in 1995, he volunteered with the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council, meeting for several hours a week with foreign students who wanted to learn English. He made up some of his own tests and practice materials, said his wife, Gertrude, whom he married in 1998.

He met the former Gertrude Riegle when they were volunteers with the Lima-Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Mr. Stower grew up in Tiffin, the only child of Charles and Amanda Uther Stower. His father was employed by American Standard Pottery, and his mother sold baked goods that she made. He graduated from Tiffin Columbian High School.

In Tiffin, he belonged to United Church of Christ and the Masonic Temple, where his parents had been active for years. In Lima, he belonged to First Evangelical and Reform Church and the Elks and Eagles lodges.

He once had interest in about a half-dozen standard-bred horses and enjoyed going to harness races. He liked to read, especially history and biographies, and went ballroom dancing with his wife Gertrude.

“We jitterbugged, and we waltzed,” she said.

Surviving are his wife, Gertrude; son, Jack D. Stower II; daughter, Jill Ritterbusch; stepsons, Rodney, Tom, and Jon Riegle; stepdaughter, Dianna Baughman; five grandchildren; eight step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, and a step-great-grandchild.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home, Lima, where visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today.

The family requests tributes to the literacy council or a charity of the donor's choice.



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