NCOPA Pays Tribute To Retired Pharmacist
“50 Years Of Devoted Service To The Pharmacy Profession”
By Ray Galuzny
May 17, 2009
Robert (Bob) Fagin, was born in 1933, to Polish Jewish immigrant parents Jacob and Pauline Fagin. His mother came to the United States through Ellis Island from the largest city in northeastern Poland called Bialystok in 1917. She met Bob’s father in Pennsylvania, who had earlier immigrated from Northern Poland/Southern Russia and together they moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1920 where they settled in an immigrant neighborhood. Bob is the youngest of 3 children and has a brother, Norman living in Columbus, Ohio and a sister, Esther that is deceased. His father was a watchmaker and devotedly taught individuals with handicaps to make watches. It was necessary for his father to ride the streetcar to work because the family did not have a car. Their first car was obtained when Bob was age 15 and a special license was needed for him so he could drive his father to work. Bob attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Youngstown, Ohio from 1947 until his graduation in 1951. He then began his college career in pre-med at Case Western Reserve. After 2 years, Bob made a decision to change his major to pharmacy and transferred to Ohio State University to pursue his pharmacy degree. He completed the 5-year program in 1957 graduating with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy with a small class of approximately 19 graduates. His first intern position was with Gray Drug in Akron, Ohio in the summer when he returned home. During the school year, Bob lived with his brother, Norman, in Columbus, Ohio. He also worked with Gray Drug in Akron, Ohio as his first pharmacist position until 1961 when he was offered a transfer as a pharmacist-manager to Gray Drug in Mansfield, Ohio at the West Park Shopping Center. He maintained that pharmacist position until 1966 when he began working for the Apothecary Shoppe and hired Bernie Ek as his partner. Bernie and Bob formed a partnership and in 1968 Bob bought the Glessner Avenue Shaw and Ott Pharmacy from Dick Shaw and Dave Ott and called it the “Prescription Center”. Later Bernie and Bob bought the Medicine Shoppe on Sturges Avenue in Mansfield, Ohio from Rick Waite, which Bernie operated while Bob continued his pharmacy business at the Prescription Center. They split their partnership in 1979 and Bernie later sold his store in 1982. Bob maintained his pharmacy operation for total of 17 years until 1985 when he sold the files and the inventory to Jim Zehner, owner of Shaw and Ott. Bob continued to work for Jim Zehner for 1 to 2 years. He later continued his pharmacy career working for Pharmor (1987-1992), Wal-Mart (1992-1999), part-time for Mike Semon at Caring Solutions and part-time for CVS/Pharmacy until he retired in September 2007 after 50 years of devotion to the practice of pharmacy.
His apothecary business experienced one terrifying robbery in which an armed suspect came through the back door during open hours, tied up both Bob and his technician and had them lay on the floor, but fortunately no one was injured. The business also had one break-in while the store was closed but that suspect was apprehended. Pharmacists that assisted Bob through the years were: Louise Cashman, Jim Zehner, Bernie Ek, Jim Williams, Chuck Brooks and Sherry Schaffer.
Bob married Marlene Huffman in 1956 and they were proud parents of 3 children. Unfortunately, they lost their oldest son (Neil) in a car accident in 1979 while Neil attended Kent State University. Bob has a daughter Marcy in Columbus and his youngest son, Stuart, is a lawyer living in Los Altos, California. Marcy’s husband, Pat, passed away in March 2007. Bob currently has 5 grandchildren. He re-married in 1981 to Joyce Forthofer, an Ohio Registered Pharmacist also, who he met when she had previously interned for him. Joyce is currently a Consultant Pharmacist for Institutional Care Pharmacy (ICP), Inc. They have been married for 28 years.
Bob Fagin has served as president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer for the North Central Ohio Pharmaceutical Association and continues to be a long time member, as well as a member of the Ohio Pharmaceutical Association. He was a member of toastmasters for a period of 5 years. Mr. Fagin has been a trustee for the “Emanuel Jacob Congregation” Synagogue in Mansfield from 1997 through 2005. He has served the coveted position of President from 2005 through 2009. In December 2008, Bob and his wife Joyce were cordially invited to the home of Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland, as part of a Hanukkah celebration with a group of 100 individuals of Jewish descent from all over the State of Ohio.
Bob’s favorite past time is cooking and he has attended numerous classes to continue this pursuit of his 40-year hobby. Bob and his wife, Joyce were members of a Gourmet group in which one couple hosted the others for a full meal one Sunday a month. They enjoyed an Alaskan cruise for their honeymoon as well as last years wedding anniversary. They have also traveled and visited Bay Harbor in Maine, a dude ranch in Wyoming, the summer home of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush in Kennebunkport (Maine), Las Vegas (Nevada) and Los Altos (California) to visit his son. Most of his travels involved visiting with family members.
Bob Fagin continues to enjoy his retirement and his passion for cooking. He exercises at the YMCA on a weekly basis and continues his member affiliation with the “Emanuel Jacob Congregation” Synagogue in Mansfield. He enjoys getting a group of people together for a dinner or a show and most often prepares a special dessert to complete the evening of fellowship. The members of the NCOPA recognize the accomplishments and the 50 years of career dedication to pharmacy of Bob Fagin, our fellow pharmacist, and we extend our most sincere wishes for continued good health and enjoyment in his retirement years.