Koula Rost, a retired pharmacist who worked at Toledo drug stores after raising her family, died Sunday in Kingston Residence of Sylvania, where she lived the last two years. She was 87.
Her daughter, Carla Gignac, said she died from complications from emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and she also suffered from macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mrs. Rost, formerly of Perrysburg, earned both her bachelor and doctorate degrees in pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1946 and went to work at the Drake Hotel, where she prescribed medications for the hotel patrons.
After she and her husband, the late Dr. Elmer Rost, moved to Toledo in 1947 she became a stay-at-home mom, but returned to the workplace in the 1960s after her youngest child entered high school.
She dispensed medications from the former Westhaven Pharmacy on Sylvania Avenue and later at the former Hofstetter Pharmacy at Secor and West Alexis roads.
“She loved the customers. She loved the doctors when they called into the pharmacy. She just loved every aspect of it. She was a quick study when it came to the drugs. She knew all of them. She knew all the adverse reactions to the drugs,” her daughter said.
Mrs. Gignac said her mother studied pharmacy at a time when it was a male-dominated career. There were only three womenin her college class.
“She was very intelligent. It was very challenging for her but she was very bright,” she said.
She was born on Oct. 21, 1924 in Chicago Heights, Ill. to Peter and Joann Verges, who were Greek immigrants. She worked before and after school in a store that her father operated there. She graduated in the early 1940s from Chicago Heights’ Bloomfield High School.
While attending college, she met her future husband who was attending medical school at Loyola University.
Mrs. Gignac said they both boarded in dormitories at a YMCA.
They were married Oct. 19, 1947. Dr. Rost, a Defiance native, practiced obstetrics and gynecology over five decades. He died Feb. 12, 2010.
Mrs. Gignac said her mother was a voracious reader, and she often had two to three books going at the same time.
The early symptoms of macular degeneration forced Mrs. Rost to retired from the Hofstetter Pharmacy and eventually halted her reading.
Mrs. Gignac said her parents moved to Satellite Beach., Fla. to live closer to their children and grandchildren, but the couple returned to the area in 2008.
She said her mother was proud of her Greek heritage and kept the traditions in her family that she learned as a child.
“She loved to cook Greek foods,” she said. “She taught my sister and I how to cook Greek meals. She taught me and my brothers all the traditions. It was very important to her.”
Surviving are her sons, Peter, Jeffrey, and Eric; daughter, Carla Gignac; 11 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sylvania.
The family requests tributes to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
- Mark Reiter