Long-time Berryville pharmacist Dean Newman dies at age 79 -- Owned Berryville Drug Store until 2001 retirement

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Dean Newman at the marble counter of Berryville Drug Store in 2001.

BERRYVILLE ---- Dean Newman, the bashful but beloved pharmacist who held court over the landmark Berryville Drug Store for nearly 60 years, died Thursday, May 9, in his home. He was 79.

Mr. Newman was known as a leader in pharmacology, following in the footsteps of locally renowned physicians and pharmacists who reared him on the science from his teens into the early 1930s and 1940s.

He was born in Berryville on April 13, 1924, and graduated from the St. Louis School of Pharmacy in 1944. He took over the drug store in 1944, after being trained by Dr. A. L. Carter and "Miss Mildred," among others.

Aunt "Mildred" Faye Jones, was a fine pharmacist in her own right, who was the sister of Mrs. Clyde Newman, Dean's mother.

Mr. Newman's spectacles were always drooped at half staff, and he could peer over the top of them with piercing eyes that made one feel thoroughly scrutinized.

In the next moment, his eyes might hold a hint of merriment, but he reserved his sprightly humor for those he knew best. Despite his serious demeanor while at work in the rows and rows of medicine and compounds, he was known to be the life of certain parties, though his customers may have found that hard to believe.

He could also "cut a rug" on the dance floor.

In October 2001, when he was being honored upon his retirement from Berryville Drug, the mayor and city council had to sneak up on the pixiesh, often grumpy pharmacist to present him with a proclamation.

"Oh, this is really too much," Mr. Newman said as he spied Mayor Tim McKinney and Aldermen Burt George, Sally Phillips and Joel Gibson as they entered the store to honor him with a proclamation declaring Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 2001, as "Dean Newman Appreciation Week."

Upon Mr. Newman's passing, Mayor McKinney said, "Dean was one of a kind. He was somebody that just can't be replaced. He was an institution in Berryville. He was the most lovable, and crankiest old man I've ever known."

When Mr. Newman retired, City Administrative Assistant Jay Lee penned a memorable, on-the-mark proclamation that said in part:

WHEREAS, in these 57 years, Dean has provided many customers and friends with free health care advice; and

WHEREAS, Dean has accomplished all of this while dealing with a daily crew of rowdy coffee drinkers made up of various local businessmen, politicians and loafers in general; and

WHEREAS, besides leading an active and busy life as a businessman and loving family member, Dean has made time to enjoy a good restaurant, be the life of many cocktail parties and cut a mean rug on occasion; and

WHEREAS, Dean has accomplished all these things in life, especially in his later years, while hiding a heart of gold with an act of a cranky old man (most notably around the Christmas season!).

When he retired and shut down Berryville Drug and its popular soda fountain, it was the end of a certain era, the end of a simpler time.

In May of 1912, Berryville Drug was born, conceived by Dr. W.A. Harvey and Mr. Hanbury and Dr. John J. Fulton. Dr. Fulton practiced for many years until his death in 1938.

At the time, there were a handful of doctors practicing.

Dr. A.L. Carter and "Miss Mildred" and Mr. Newman himself were forerunners in what was called compound chemistry. Mr. Newman said when he retired, "I learned a lot at college, but I learned much more when I got home from Pharmacy School. My Aunt Mildred practiced from 1971 to 1992, and she was as good a pharmacist as any. It was a time when women weren't considered worthy of being a pharmacist, but she proved them wrong." In 1944, there were just a few doctors practicing in the county. "Dr. Jones was one of the best in Berryville, but of course it's all different now. There's so much red tape and paperwork, it's time to move on."

Mr. Newman is survived by his three cousins, Peggy Newman Fancher and her husband, Frank; Larry K. Newman and his wife, Jeannine; and Shirley Newman Porter and her husband, Gene.

Graveside services are at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Berryville Memorial Park Cemetery, under the direction of Nelson Funeral Service, with Rev, Chuck Hammond officiating. Donations may be made to First Christian Church of Berryville.

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