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Published: Wednesday, 5/27/2009

Pharmacist was WWII vet, owned area shop

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Emerson L. Finke, a licensed pharmacist for more than 50 years and former pharmacy owner, died Friday in the Ohio Veterans Home, Sandusky. He was 91.

A resident of the veterans home for five years, he died of complications of Alzheimer's disease, his son, Gary Finke, said.

Mr. Finke, who grew up on a farm outside Oak Harbor, owned and operated Finke Pharmacy in the village from 1951 to 1983.

He bought a store with a soda fountain that sold over-the-counter medications and turned it into a full-fledged pharmacy, sometimes offering after-business-hours service with home delivery, his son said.

"If someone called and needed a prescription late at night, he would go into the pharmacy and fill it for them," his son said. "I delivered many prescriptions at night as a kid."

After retiring and selling the pharmacy in Oak Harbor, Mr. Finke was employed part time at Green's Pharmacy in Port Clinton for 10 years.

A 1935 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, Mr. Finke served in the Army after earning his pharmacy degree from Ohio Northern University in 1941.

During World War II, Mr. Finke was stationed in Alexandria, La., working in an Army hospital providing pharmacy service.

After the three-year stint in the Army, Mr. Finke was employed at the former Rupp and Bowman Co., a retail druggist and medical supply firm on Superior Street in Toledo.

He married the former Eleanor Roth in 1944 in Toledo. Beginning in 1969, Mr. Finke and his wife traveled extensively, visiting almost every country in Europe. They toured Russia, Panama, Australia, Japan, and China.

In retirement, Mr. Finke picked up golfing. He enjoyed fishing, woodworking, and model trains.

He was a member of Oak Harbor United Methodist Church, Oak Harbor Masonic Lodge, Ottawa County Shrine, Zenobia Temple of the Shrine, Scottish Rite of Toledo, and John A. Fader American Legion Post.

He had lifetime memberships in the American Pharmaceutical Association and the Ohio Pharmacist Association, which honored him for 50 years of service.

Surviving are his wife, Eleanor, son, Gary D. Finke, daughter, Karen Jo Ruwet, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in the Robinson-Walker Funeral Home, where visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Ohio Veterans Home Special Care Activities Fund.

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