U.B. and beyond: Nine lives in pharmacy


When you find a good thing, pass it on. Here's a story of nine pharmacists who have done exactly that.

Well, it’s happened again. Our last newsletter featuring a big pharmacy family (“Nine pharmacists, three generations - and counting,” by Hal Reaves, Jr.) has brought us the story of another one. The evidence is building: There must be a lot right about this profession, for entire families to embrace it as they do.

Our family, like the people mentioned in Irwin Woldman’s article [“Pharmacists by the dozen”], July 9, 2014], are all graduates of the State University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy. My father-in-law, Julian Madejski, graduated in 1928. His nephews, Julian and Alfred Szklarz, graduated in the late 1940s and early 1950s. My husband and I graduated in in 1959, and my sister, Marge Quinn, graduated in 1960. My children, Thomas (now Dr. Thomas Madejski) and his sister, Linda Panteli, graduated in 1982 and 1983, respectively. My niece, Dr. Lisa Saubermann, graduated in 1993. All nine family members have graduated from U.B., and we’re proud to have the most graduates from this great school.

How it began

Our pharmacy history began with my father-in-law, Julian Madejski, in 1926. He graduated from the two-year pharmacy program and opened his own pharmacy in Buffalo, N.Y.

My own family had no pharmacy connections. We lived in western Pennsylvania, in a region known for bituminous coal, and my father was a coal miner. When the mines closed in 1953, we relocated to the city of Buffalo, where my mother had family.

My sister and I got jobs with the Harvey and Carey drugstore chain. We met a young woman pharmacist named  Marilyn Sherman, who encouraged us to go to pharmacy school if we had the opportunity. Our high school guidance counselor was determined that my sister and I should go to college and helped us to take the appropriate exams and apply for scholarships.

I started at U.B. in 1955, and it was there that I met my husband, who was returning, along with several other veterans, from the Korean War. We were engaged in my senior year and married immediately after graduation.

The second generation sets an example

My husband opened his first pharmacy in 1960 and his second pharmacy in 1965. We had three children, Thomas, Linda, and Mary Ann. They all worked in our pharmacy and were witnesses to how much my husband and I enjoyed our profession.

We were both active in pharmacy organizations and also were active in trying to lobby the legislature for reforms in pharmacy practice. During my tenure as president of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (1989-1990) my administration introduced the concept of changing pharmacy practice to enable pharmacists to perform more clinical activities, such as immunizations, which finally passed 20 years later. 

I loved being a pharmacist. In addition to the satisfaction one derives from helping people who are sick and bewildered by the healthcare system, there is great appeal in the fact that pharmacy is a knowledge-based profession that is constantly changing and stimulating its practitioners to be lifelong learners.

The educational background that pharmacists possess allows them to practice in a variety of settings and opens the doors to numerous opportunities that many other professions lack. 


New directions

As for myself, in addition to being a community pharmacist, I taught science in our local school system on a part-time basis and developed a nursing-home consulting and vending practice that benefited our pharmacy, Stall’s Health Service.

Yet another direction presented itself when my mother developed colorectal cancer in 1964 and underwent a colostomy. Adequate medical supplies for her to use to control the discharge from her ostomy were not available, so my husband suggested that I enroll at Roswell Park Hospital for the Enterostomal Therapy certification.

That program was primarily a nursing program, but since pharmacists have a solid educational background, they allowed me to enter and complete the certification process. After I graduated, we opened a medical equipment department in our pharmacy that catered to ostomy patients and carried all other types of medical equipment as well.

The third generation heads to U.B.

During this time, our children were working with my husband and me, and they decided they would go to pharmacy school. 

My son, Tom, always wanted to be a doctor, so when he graduated from pharmacy school, he enrolled at Syracuse University and graduated from their program as an internist. Linda graduated in 1983 with a BS. Mary Ann wanted to be a physical therapist, rather than a pharmacist; she has a doctorate in PT.

In 1990 we sold our pharmacy, and I went to U.B. as a faculty member. I retired from UB in 2001.

My niece, Lisa Saubermann, was one of my students. She now has a PharmD and is the associate director of informatics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.

The rest of the family - my husband, myself, my sister, Julian and Alfred Szklarz, and my father-in-law - all earned BS degrees from U.B. My sister also earned a Doctor of Law degree from U.B.'s law school.

Pharmacy has been a wonderful profession for my family and me. We have loved being members of this profession and appreciate the opportunities it afforded us. Pharmacy is a great profession.

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