It was 1950 when Ed began working as a full-time pharmacist. Often, people would come to see him before calling their doctor. “During the 1950s, people would come into the pharmacy and tell me what their symptoms were and see if there was anything I could do to help them. I’d do what I could and refer them to a doctor as needed.”
In 1956, he was drafted into the Army and became the Chief Manufacturing Pharmacist at a 200-bed hospital at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. “It was very different from retail. Those were the days when medicine was mixed and made,” Ed said. He recalls working out of a small room in the hospital, following the Army’s suggested formularies to create cough syrups, pain medicines and ointments. “If someone had a gastrointestinal problem, I would make whatever the Army’s doctors suggested. I really enjoyed my work.”
During this time, he met his wife Marilyn, who lived in Denver, and the two married and moved to New York when he left the service.
Building a business
Back in New York, Ed and his wife decided it was time to start their own company, and Ed’s Pharmacy in Brooklyn was born. The couple owned and operated the business for 13 years. At the time, the pharmacy was in Brooklyn in a low-income Puerto Rican neighborhood where Ed felt he could make the biggest impact.
“I speak Spanish and was able to communicate well with my customers. They would express their appreciation all the time, coming to me first with questions or concerns before heading to their doctor,” he said.
In 1972 after visiting friends in Scottsdale, Ed and his wife decided they needed a change of pace. I had my fill of New York,” he said. The family sold the Brooklyn pharmacy, Ed became a licensed pharmacist in Arizona, and the couple moved to the Phoenix-area where Ed accepted a job at Walgreens.
In particular, Ed was attracted to the opportunity to continue using his language skills along with his specialty to help an underserved population. “At the time, there weren’t many Spanish-speaking pharmacists in the Phoenix area,” he said. “They asked me to come on board where I could provide the most value.” And he did – for the next 26 years.
Planning for the future
He and Marilyn lived in a five-bedroom home in Paradise Valley, Arizona until 2010 when Marilyn passed away. Ed stayed in the home five more years before deciding it was time to downsize. “I thought about my future and how I could make things easier on my family if I were to get ill or need help,” he said.
He decided to move into a retirement community and chose Vi at Silverstone because of the convenience and access to a care center. “I don’t live far from where I used to live, so my family and friends are still in the comfort zone, and now they don’t need to make decisions for me,” he said.
Making new memories
Now in a one-bedroom apartment at Vi at Silverstone, Ed is enjoying his retirement, and the camaraderie he’s found at Vi. He participates in several resident-led groups including a foreign policy and current events group, and a daily “Breakfast Club” group that meets each morning in the café for coffee and Danishes.
“Although there was a lot of grief for me in selling my home, people at Vi were very understanding,” he said. “I am very happy now with my fabulous views, and everyone here has been very welcoming.”