Point Pleasant, W.Va. – (May 5, 2020) – Dola Stone began her career in pharmacy in the late 1940’s working for local Nitro pharmacist, “Doc” Temple.
When “Doc” Temple asked Dola’s sister-in-law if she knew of anyone that could help around the store, she recommended Dola. Dola went to work right away. She had no training. Everything she learned, she learned on the job. “Doc” Temple’s store was an old-fashioned pharmacy – complete with soda fountain.
There was history between “Doc” Temple’s store and Fruth before Fruth purchased what was later known as Nitro Drug. Dola recounted how “Doc” Temple at one time, during an extended family vacation, had asked a young Jack Fruth to fill-in as pharmacist. Unfortunately, Jack Fruth was unable to do so, as he had not yet received his pharmacy license. If Mr. Fruth had been able to fill-in, Dola would have worked beside him before later taking a position at his pharmacy.
In 1984, long after Mr. Fruth had earned his license and began his business, Fruth Pharmacy purchased Nitro Drug. Dola called up Mr. Fruth and asked him for an application to work at the store. He put her in touch with the correct person and she was hired. Later, Mr. Fruth called Dola and some of the other women hired at the store and asked them to stock shelves before opening day. Dola truly was with Nitro Fruth Pharmacy from its very beginning.
Dola, due to health concerns, retired as a pharmacy technician in February after 35 years with Fruth Pharmacy. She is 91 years old.
“Dola raised a lot of us,” Shelly Hodges, Pharmacist at Fruth Pharmacy in Nitro, shared. “She is the pharmacy technician that every student or fill-in pharmacist wanted to work with – she had a strong work ethic. She showed up early, rarely missed work and was productive her entire shift.”
“I taught Shelly how to work the registers,” Dola shared about the Nitro pharmacist, “I have worked with many wonderful people at Fruth – and very kind people.”
Shelly had some stories to share about Dola. A few of her favorite stores were: “When I was a young intern, a customer came in wanting ammonia to put in Coke to drink. I thought that would be a terrible idea. Dola stepped in and said they used to make ammonia Cokes all the time when she worked the fountain in “Doc” Temple’s store. Another time, an older gentleman came in wanting something for “the piles” – I was clueless until Dola informed me that was an old-timer’s way of referring to hemorrhoids. We’ve had a lot of good laughs together over the years,” Shelly concluded.
“My customers were always special to me, we had a group that used to come in every morning to visit,” Dola recalled, “I would make sure to put coffee on for them early each morning. I’ve had pleasant memories and unpleasant memories, but I would tell the kids, these patients are your paycheck, you have to be nice, you have to put things in perspective about the customer or patient and what they may be going through when they come to your counter.”
“We’ve always taken care of older people,” Dola continued, “Nitro is an old town. Before Fruth started delivery service, a few of us at the store used to personally deliver items to the elderly. Nitro has a great community feeling and Fruth Pharmacy is family oriented, it was a pleasure working for both my community and Fruth Pharmacy.”
When asked if she had a favorite memory to share, Dola exclaimed, “Yes – my 90th birthday party! Shelly or Todd may have bought me a birthday cake almost every year, but the entire staff held a surprise party for my 90th birthday and it was beyond sweet. It was so very nice of them to do…my birthday is Christmas Eve. They were able to hide the surprise by asking me to bring a dish for a Christmas Eve party – so I brought a covered dish to my own birthday party.”
“We love Dola and miss her already,” Shelly stated, “She is family to us. She taught us so much. She was there when I walked in after finishing my first year of pharmacy school 31 years ago.”
Dola plans to spend her retirement living a quiet simple life. If you would like to send a message to Dola, please send cards or letters to: Dola Stone, C/O Fruth Pharmacy, 101 21st Street, Nitro, WV 25143.