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Donald W. Arthur, pharmacist and industry leader Feb. 7, 1935 - July 4, 2007

Donald W. Arthur of Amherst not only was a pharmacist, but a businessman and policy-maker in his field.

Mr. Arthur died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. He was 72.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Arthur was a graduate of Bennett High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1957 from the University of Buffalo's School of Pharmacy, where he was president of his junior class and of the student council. He also was a member and officer of Kappa Phi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.

His business career started in 1959, when he bought Black Rock Pharmacy in Buffalo. The site had been a pharmacy since 1891, when it was founded as Dearborn Street Pharmacy.

Mr. Arthur, along with his partners, went on to acquire a total of eight pharmacies in the metro area, operating under the name Owl Drug Stores.

In 1998, he and partner William Fleming sold six of the original eight to Eckerd Corp. The other two, Black Rock Pharmacy and Brighton-Eggert Pharmacy, remain family owned and operated by sons Bradley and Donald Jr., respectively, as well as their sister, Susan.

Meanwhile, Mr. Arthur was elected to the board of the Erie County Pharmaceutical Association in 1959. He served the organization in many capacities, including as president in 1968.

In 1971, he was honored as "Outstanding Pharmacist of Erie County."

He also was active in the Pharmaceutical Society of the State of New York, elected as the body's secretary in 1967 and president in 1975.

During that same time, Mr. Arthur served on two policy-making committees of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

He achieved leadership positions in what formerly was known as the National Association of Retail Druggists. He was elected a vice president in 1977 and president in 1988.

Mr. Arthur joined the board of directors of Ellicott Drug Company, a drug wholesaler servicing retail pharmacies, in 1974 and was elected board chairman in 1980. He was instrumental in the sale of the company to Cardinal Health of Columbus, Ohio.

His career figured in his community service, as well. Mr. Arthur served as chairman of the Pharmacy Division of United Fund and was chairman of the Pharmacy Advisory Committee of Erie County's Department of Social Welfare. In 1964, he was included in "Outstanding Young Men of America," a publication of the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Arthur also was a longtime member of Transit Valley Country Club.

Additional survivors include his wife of 49 years, the former Diane DiLapo, and another son, Michael.

A memorial service will be held at 9 a.m. Monday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 250 St. Gregory Court, Amherst.


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