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APhA CEO Blog

Two losses for the APhA family

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September 11, 2015

It is with a heavy heart that I recently learned of the passing of two former APhA Trustees—Don Gronewold and Tom Garrison.  Both Don and Tom were on the Board when I joined APhA’s staff in 1997.

Don Gronewold

Don passed away on Tuesday, August 25, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He served on the APhA Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1991. He was an independent pharmacy owner who operated Don’s Pharmacy for 42 years in Washington, IL, where he also served as its mayor from 1989 to 2001 and was politically active within his state. Given his life of service, it is not surprising that Don was a 1970 recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia. He was truly a pillar in his community.

Don and his wife, Shirley, attended many APhA Annual Meetings over the years, and I saw them at Illinois association meetings as well. I had the good fortune last fall to have dinner with Don and Shirley at Busch Stadium while attending the Illinois/Missouri joint annual meeting in St. Louis. It is a memory I will treasure.

While attending his memorial service, I met several of his younger colleagues who really looked up to him as an example of the right way to do things. That was Don! I was amazed at Shirley’s stamina as I watched her tirelessly hug and smile at dozens of well-wishers who went to the viewing.  Don was a gentleman, a good man to his neighbors and the “man upstairs,” and a kind-hearted pharmacist and leader in his community and profession for over 45 years. Those are awesome things to be remembered for at the end of a life well spent. We’ll miss him, but his influence will last for many years to come.

Don’s obituary can be found online. You’ll also have the opportunity to leave a note of condolence on the website if you wish.

Tom Garrison

Recently, I learned belatedly about the July 19 passing of Tom, who served on the APhA Board in from 1987 to 1989—my first years on staff at APhA. He was always an insightful voice at the board table and a consummate gentleman.

Tom, a lifetime resident of Kansas City, MO, was also a leader at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). He initiated some of the first innovative hospital pharmacy practices in Kansas City in the 1960s and 1970s. He was one of the founders of Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP). The Thomas J. Garrison Award, given by the Research and Education Foundation of MSHP, is named for him.

In addition to his APhA Board service, Tom served as president of MSHP, ASHP, and the Missouri Pharmacy Association, and was a past president of the Missouri Board of Pharmacy.

Tom and his wife, Ronilue Beery Garrison, a Professor of Education at William Jewell College from 1980 to 2006, would have celebrated 50 years of marriage on August 21.

A very thoughtful obituary about Tom can be found online