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Robin G. Willmott, head of co-op of independently owned pharmacies

July 6, 1947 — April 16, 2015

Robin G. Willmott, the longtime executive director of a co-op of independently owned pharmacies, died April 16 in San Diego, Calif., following a brief respiratory illness. He was 67.

Mr. Willmott, a resident of Springville, was executive director of Legend Pharmacies, which became Quality Care Pharmacies. Since 1988, he oversaw the Springville-based buying and advertising co-op of more than 700 independently owned pharmacies located throughout five states.

“He understood our customers better than anyone and was as smart as any man I’ve known,” said Larry Doud, CEO of Rochester Drug Cooperative and a Quality Care board member.

Diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor in the late 1990s, Mr. Willmott was told by doctors there was nothing they could do to fight the cancer. He researched alternatives and found a new clinical trial being conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He was put on Gleevec, a prescription drug then only used to fight leukemia, and over time the disease was no longer visible on CAT scans.

Dr. George D. Demetri, who oversaw the trial and is Dana-Farber’s director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, said: “Robin was very upbeat and never once complained. Of the 147 patients, he stood out.”

Mr. Willmott was thrilled to buy his oldest daughter, Lyndsay, a stethoscope upon her admission into medical school.

During her graduation from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, “all the other families stayed put in their seats during the ceremony,” Lyndsay said, “but he was waiting for me after I crossed the stage to give me a big hug.”

Mr. Willmott was born in Manhattan and spent his childhood in Cambridge, Mass. During his mid-teenage years, he traveled cross-country and lived in California.

He loved the Boston Red Sox and idolized Ted Williams, seeing him many times with his brother, Dennis, at Fenway Park.

As a teen, Mr. Willmott played washtub bass in a blues trio in the coffeehouses of greater Boston.

He was passionate about golf – playing it and watching it. He recently recorded a hole-in-one on the eighth hole at Springville Country Club. Arnold Palmer was both his boyhood hero and preferred drink.

Mr. Willmott enjoyed vacationing with his wife of 18 years, Jennifer, and family in Cape Cod and New Smyrna Beach, Fla., as well as spending time with his dogs.

He once served as president of Kiwanis Club’s Springville chapter.

Mr. Willmott is survived by his wife, Jennifer; two daughters, Lyndsay and Aubrey; a son, Ryan; three step-children, Geoffrey, Sean and Rebecca Nason; two grandchildren, Ethan and Naomi; and a brother, Dennis.

A private memorial service will be held.