#Pharmacist Day January 12

The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.

So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist.

In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.

If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.

My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.

John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.

Jan 12, 2018 National Pharmacist Day

Written by John Rancke

National Pharmacist Day is observed annually on January 12. This day has been set aside to recognize and honor all pharmacists across the nation. It’s a special day in my life.


My Father was a Pharmacist for 64 years starting with McMillan’s Drug Store on Elm Street beside the old Belks Department store.

My dad.

Daddy at Brians wedding 2013

It was his mother’s desire that after he returned from WWII that he transfer from dook University (he wanted to be a General Practitioner MD) to Carolina and become a Pharmacist and come back to Lumberton to take over the family drugstore. He did and for 64 years he was a licensed pharmacist in Lumberton. One of his classmates in Pharmacy school at Carolina was John Caldwell’s father.

Imagine if he had graduated from dook and become a Doctor. I could have been a dookie. I thank God everyday for my grandmother that I only knew briefly for sending him to Chapel Hill instead of Durham. Course, if I was a Dr’s son instead of a Pharmacist’s son maybe I could driven something better than a 3 speed forest green Chevy Vega for my 1st car ( Thank you Sonny Oliver for convincing Bunky and John for that idea)!!

A forest green Chevrolet Vega-epitome of cool.


My parents in 2010.

John Rancke 2010

But there are much better things in life that money can’t buy. I can’t begin to count the number of people that have come up to me since my Father passed away Nov 18, 2013 and told me stories of Gene Hackney and John Rancke behind the counter at North Elm Pharmacy (which was located on North Elm Street where Dr Royal’s office is now).

Steve Royal

The two of them offering suggestions on which Dr. to go to various ailments or offering OTC for treatment. John and Gene were their 1st stop when ailing.

Photo below of Gene Hackney.

Gene Hackney

I can’t begin to count the number of times late at night or on Holidays the phone would ring and I would hear my father tell the person on the other end of the phone “I’ll meet you there in 15 minutes”. He would always go meet the customer and get their medicine even if it was a prescription that should have been filled a week earlier. Sometimes it would be 2-3 am.

There has to be a reason that his 3 children all went into careers that involved public service and helping people. A 4th grade teacher for over 35 years, a nurse for over 35 years, and his wandering son meandered back and forth in and out of public recreation but made it to 24 years with various interludes. I think it was his caring manner and wanting to be helpful to those he called his customers.

And for Nicky McKeithan it was always his last stop on Christmas Eve to do his Christmas shopping. Nicky would be delivering furniture for Blackmon Furniture all day on Christmas Eve and had to wait until he was through before he could run by North Elm and be their last of the night.


For every action there is a reaction and Nicky’s devotion to his customers and making sure they had their Christmas gifts before calling it a day meant North Elm would stay open so Nicky could have his Christmas presents to take home.

Believe it or not before the creation of the drugstore chains like WalGreens, CVS, and others you could actually go up to the counter and the Pharmacist behind the counter would talk to you and carry on a conversation while typing a prescription label for a bottle. If he was counting pills, he would say hold on and when he was finished counting he would answer your inquiry about you ailments as best he could. The big stores today are too busy to stop and talk and answer questions. A recent visit to a Walgreens in Chapel Hill revealed the Pharmacists completely hidden behind a solid wall and you had to stand in front of a plate glass window until a clerk would ask if she could help you. It wasn’t even a Pharmacy Tech. Bigger ain’t always better!!

I thank Medical Arts Pharmacy, Lumberton Drugs, and the other locally owned neighborhood drugstores for carrying on the traditions that Johnny Johnson, Gene Hackney, Buddy Jackson, JC Jackson, Jack Bryan, Monk Rogers, Willie Webster, Sarah Alice Jackson Hackney, Fletcher Dean, Andy Thorndyke, Paul Thompson, Eddie Malion, and Ebbie Hoffman operated under.

My Father would be so proud to see his youngest grandchild, Blake King, following in his footprints although in the corporate setting of Hospital Pharmacy, first at New Hanover Regional Medical in Wilmington followed by Wake Medical in Raleigh.

The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

One comment

  1. docgrantham · · Reply

    To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, “If we have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” You dad was one of those giants. We grew up in Lumberton during a marvelous time – the 60s and 70s. We had many strong male role models that I will not list any here for fear of leaving someone out (you presented a good list). Our role models were men of substance and I can only hope we live up to the standard they set for us.

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