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Published: Sunday, 5/14/2006

Pharmacy operator ended sale of tobacco

Jim Thompson, 69, a retired pharmacist whose South Toledo pharmacy was the first in the area to stop selling cigarettes in 1992, died of cancer Monday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township, after a nine-year bout with the disease.

Mr. Thompson owned the Glenbyrne Pharmacy from the late 1980s, when his former associate retired, until his own retirement in 1998, when it was sold.

Before that, Mr. Thompson was a co-owner of the pharmacy, 1544 South Byrne Rd., from 1964, when he bought half of it.

Over the years, he also taught pharmacy management and pharmacy law classes at the University of Toledo.

The store stopped selling cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products in 1992 after two of Mr. Thompson's "good friends and customers" succumbed to what he considered cigarette-related deaths.

"I just felt that it was the right thing to do," Mr. Thompson said in a 1992 Blade interview.

"One had lung cancer, one had a heart problem, and they just continued to smoke," Mr. Thompson said.

His wife of 49 years, Carol Thompson, said Mr. Thompson "loved people so much that he decided to become a pharmacist to help them and it was his idea that drug stores should not sell cigarettes."

Mr. Thompson was a past president of the Toledo Academy of Pharmacy.

He was a recipient of a prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award presented by the Ohio Pharmacists Association.

In the 1980s, he was named a Toledo Area Pharmacist of the Year.

Mr. Thompson was known for his expertise in prescription drugs and his friendliness.

In a 1991 Blade interview, Mr. Thompson said he estimated that over the years he had answered thousands of questions put to him by customers.

Of necessity, pharmacists become drug experts or monitors. That is especially true if prescriptions are filled from several doctors in the same time frame, he explained.

"A physician may be unaware that his patient is taking conflicting types of medication," Mr. Thompson pointed out.

That year, Mr. Thompson appeared on TV screens throughout the United States after agreeing to be featured in a TV commercial by Family Pharmacy, Columbus, a national wholesale drug firm promoting the family pharmacist.

Mr. Thompson volunteered and held leadership positions at the former Toledo Area Program on Drug Abuse and the former Family Tree residential facility in downtown Toledo, which helped those with drug addictions.

A Toledo native, Mr. Thompson grew up in South Toledo and graduated from Libbey High School in 1954 and from the University of Toledo in 1958 after earning a bachelor's degree in pharmacy.

During his school and college years, he worked as an intern at the former Seelig Drug Store on Arlington Avenue in South Toledo.

In 1957, he married Carol Hischka, his high school sweetheart.

In his free time, Mr. Thompson enjoyed playing piano, flying an airplane, traveling, boating, hunting, fishing, singing in choirs, and golfing.

Mr. Thompson was a member of Waterville Community Church, where he served in a variety of capacities, most recently on the board of directors.

His other memberships included Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Kappa Psi pharmaceutical fraternity, and the UT Alumni Association.

Surviving are his wife, Carol; son, Todd; daughter, Lysbeth Wallace, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Waterville Community Church, 8217 Dutch Rd. The visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Walter Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the church or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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