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Published: Friday, 5/14/2004

Pharmacist owned drugstore in Bryan

BRYAN - William S. Sutter, 89, a longtime pharmacist in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan who owned a drugstore here in the 1950s and 1960s, died Tuesday in Community Hospitals of Williams County, Bryan, from complications of a stroke.

Mr. Sutter retired in 1993, three years after he received a certificate from Gov. Richard Celeste declaring him the state's oldest practicing pharmacist.

Lois Clarke, a longtime neighbor and friend, said: "He's been a leading citizen in our community."

He was a pharmacist in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s at Nash Drugs in Hillsdale, Mantel Pharmacy in Bryan, and a pharmacy in Archbold.

He was a pharmacist in the late 1940s in Akron. Eager to have his own business, he bought Garn's drugstore in Bryan in 1950 and made it Sutter Drug Store. He put in a soda fountain, and the store "was like a gathering spot in our community," Mrs. Clarke said. "It was where you stopped when you went downtown on our square."

Mr. Sutter's wife, Dorothy, was a constant presence in the store, which also sold jewelry and candy.

"It was an old-fashioned drugstore with all the old-fashioned bottles," their daughter, Marsha Esswein, said. "He left [it] in its original character, and he always had a lot of the local high school girls and boys working for him."

Customers called Mr. Sutter's home late at night and on weekends with medical questions "because he was a very knowledgeable, kind person," his daughter said. "He was very gentle, very calm.

"He was a very smart man," she said.

He was an usher for many years at Wesley United Methodist Church, Bryan, of which he was a member.

"He just enjoyed people and enjoyed being busy," his daughter said. "He was constantly busy, even here at home after he stopped working."

Surviving are his wife, Dorothy, whom he married April 29, 1940; daughter, Marsha Esswein, and sisters, Jean Llewellyn and Lena Thomas.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. May 21 in the Oberlin-Ford Mortuary, Bryan, after which the family will greet friends.

The family suggests tributes to the Wesley United Methodist Church or the Bryan VFW.



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