PHARMACIST DAVE DUEHRING stands in front of the pharmacy count at which he’s worked for decades. Behind him, his successor, Connor Hanson, fills a prescription.    Ian Stepleton photo
PHARMACIST DAVE DUEHRING stands in front of the pharmacy count at which he’s worked for decades. Behind him, his successor, Connor Hanson, fills a prescription. Ian Stepleton photo

     RIPONHAS HAD A HANDful of longtime pharmacists over the years. Frank Sears was one.

     “I remember [Frank] coming in and saying, ‘Don’t work for 50 years!’” said Dave Duehring, pharmacist at Ripon Drug.

     And Dave hasn’t. At least, not yet.

     But he is approaching the end of his 48th year serving up prescriptions to Ripon’s ill.

     Will he reach the fateful 50? Who knows — but Dave isn’t worrying about that arbitrary benchmark.

     Even so, after nearly a half century behind the counter at Ripon Drug, Dave is beginning a slow march toward retirement.
“It’s time I move on. But, I want to emphasize, I’m not retiring completely,” Dave said, noting he plans to keep working part-time for the foreseeable future. “I officially have given over the pharmacy manager position to Connor Hanson, who has been with us for two years ... So now I still will be a staff pharmacist, scheduled one day a week, and I will fill in during vacations and sick times.”

     And will that get him to 50?

     “We’ll see. I’ll probably be close to that anyway,” Dave said.

     But, truth be told, in a way he’s already past the magical mark.

     THE YEAR WAS 1963, AND a young Dave Duehring still was searching for his path in life.

     “I was going to be a baseball player until I found out I didn’t make the starting lineup of my high school baseball team,” he said. “I considered the ministry ... [but] I’m not sure I have that personality.”

     That’s when his grandfather, a farmer, pitched him an idea.

     “He knew I didn’t like farming, and he said, ‘Did you ever think of pharmacy?’” Dave recalled.

     So, that spring, he participated in a two-day program in Madison, and Dave’s interest blossomed.

     Then, 55 years ago this month, a buddy of Dave’s had an idea.

     “I just finished my junior year of high school, and one of my friends was working as a stock boy [at Ripon Drug] and was leaving for something else — and knew of my interest in pharmacy,” Dave said. “He said ‘I’m leaving; do you want to apply for my position?’ I said, ‘I most certainly do.’” ...

     To read the entire column, including Duehring’s explanation of why he feels blessed to have a career at Ripon Drug, see the June 28, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.