Last month’s Ozzie Gram was in honor of the mothers in our family and their contribution to the pharmacy through the years. For Father’s Day I thought I would look into what our families Dads did outside of work.
Great great grandfather W. W. Wickel, who ran the store from 1881 to 1914, helped found Grace Evangelical Church. The church later merged with the Evangelical United Brethren and then with the Methodist church. Today the church is just across the river on Gartner – Grace United Methodist. He served many years as Sunday school superintendent and as a Sunday school teacher. He was also a Master Mason, a member of Naperville’s Euclid Lodge #65.
Great grandfather Louis Oswald ran the pharmacy from 1915 to 1954. He was also a Master Mason in town. He founded the Retail Druggists Association of DuPage County. He served on legislative committees with the Illinois Pharmaceutical Association, the National Association of Retail Druggists, and the American Pharmaceutical Association. A lifelong Republican, during the great depression he became a huge supporter of F.D.R. and his programs to turn the country around. He switched parties and was a Democrat for the rest of his life. He ran for DuPage County Recorder of Deeds in 1944 and for United States Congress in 1946, both on the Democratic ticket. DuPage County at the time was overwhelmingly Republican. Though he lost those races he was proud that he received more votes than any other Democratic candidate in the County. But maybe he is best remembered for bringing the first drugstore soda fountain to Naperville. I still have customers tell me about their memories at Ozzie’s fountain!
Grandpa Harold Kester, owned the pharmacy from 1954 to 1979 and was also very busy outside of work. He spent two terms on the Naperville city council also running for mayor in 1959. He was on the board of trustees for Grace Church, the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce, the Home and School Association and was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Naperville. He helped out on financial campaigns for the YMCA, the United Way and Wayside Cross. As a founding member of CANDO, he helped chart a course for downtown Naperville’s phenomenal success. He served as Rexall Club Chairman of Illinois and was a proponent of the One Cent Sale that was used very successfully by Rexall into the 70’s. Remember Super Pleniman vitamins? Many Napervillians are not aware is that he also opened Paradise Bookshop in 1964, today known as Anderson’s Bookshop.
My dad, Bob Anderson, ran the store from 1979 to 1991. Fresh out of Pharmacy school in 1964, he was the pharmacist in charge of the mass polio immunization that took place at the high school. He, too, was a member of the Rotary club, serving as president in 1971. He served 12 years as Lisle 1 precinct committeeman. Dad and Mom both volunteered for many years at the Heritage Society’s Antique Show that was held in Merner Fieldhouse. He was part of the first Special Tax District in downtown that revamped Jefferson Avenue from Washington to Main. Gone were the parking meters, replaced by brick pavers, trees and new lighting. Since that makeover in the late seventies, the rest of downtown has followed suit. We were also the first pharmacy in the area to computerize its prescription system in 1981!
Looking back on all these accomplishments reminds me that one must always give back to the community in which you live. That’s what Dads have been doing for generations – leading by example. Thanks to my Dad and Grandad and Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads!