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Martin L. Quinn III, reinvented Snyder Pharmacy as surgical supplies specialist

Feb. 28, 1928 — Sept. 11, 2018

First he got rid of the magazines and the ice cream. Next to go were the cosmetics.

Martin L. Quinn III, a lifelong pharmacist, understood that his business had to specialize to survive the impact of the large chain pharmacies.

So at the Snyder Pharmacy, which he had owned since the mid-1960s, Mr. Quinn changed the focus of the business to specialize in medical and surgical equipment and education for people coping with mobility limitations, ostomies and other issues.

"He knew that individual stores were no longer going to be able to compete with the chains, so you needed  something different that they weren't doing," said Martha Quinn, his wife of nearly 67 years. "That's when he got into surgical supplies. He knew that was a specialty we could do as a small individual store, and it would be our little niche. And it was."

Mr. Quinn died Sept. 11, 2018, in his Snyder home with care from Hospice Buffalo after a decline of several months. He was 90.

Mr. Quinn and his twin, Ellen, were born Feb. 28, 1928, to Martin L. Quinn Jr. and Katherine Dowdall Quinn, who lived in Snyder. His father was a builder who constructed some of the houses on the older streets in Snyder.

He graduated from St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in 1946 and the University at Buffalo's School of Pharmacy in 1951. On Nov. 24, 1951, Mr. Martin married Martha A. Wilber in Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Williamsville; the two met in pharmacy school.

Mr. Quinn enlisted in the U.S. Air National Guard, serving from January 1951 to January 1953, then joined the U.S. Air Force.

He spent more than a year as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the pharmacy in the Air Force Hospital in Tachikawa, Japan, sending home photos of Japanese shrines and Mount Fuji to his wife. "He liked photography; he took a lot of pictures in Japan, and Fuji was one of his favorite subjects," she said.

Mrs. Quinn had their first child, Martin L. IV, in 1955. They later became the parents of a daughter, Ellen.

Mr. Quinn had worked at the soda fountain of the Snyder Pharmacy as a student when it was located on the south side of Main Street near Harlem. "It was one of his first jobs," said his wife.

After his final military assignment at Combined Services Station in Brooklyn, Mr. Quinn was discharged in February 1957. He worked briefly at a pharmacy in Lancaster and at a Van Slyke Pharmacy in Buffalo before returning to work at the Snyder Pharmacy.

"He always wanted to be back in this neighborhood," said Mrs. Quinn, who worked part-time in the business through the years. Mr. Quinn purchased the pharmacy in the mid-1960s.

With increasing pressure from the large chain pharmacies, Mr. Quinn revamped his business to eliminate the general merchandise and offer supplies for people recovering from injuries, ailments and surgery.

"He was happy to work with people who needed help and didn't have anywhere else to go," said Mrs. Quinn. "It wasn't as popular then as it is now, and he got into it very early."

As part of his specialized focus, Mr. Quinn joined the Niagara Frontier Ostomy Association in 1973 and its advisory board in 1980. He organized the Northeast Regional Conference of the group and helped patients with new products and procedures, as well as insurance problems.

About seven years ago, Mr. Quinn sold the Snyder Pharmacy to his son, Martin L. Quinn IV, also a pharmacist, who now operates it.

In his younger days, Mr. Quinn was active in the Boy Scouts of America.

He joined the Rotary Club of Amherst South in 1968 and served as president, treasurer and chair of several committees and fundraising programs. He received two Paul Harris Fellowships in recognition of his work.

An active member of Christ the King Church in Snyder, Mr. Quinn served on the Parish Council and was a member of the Building and Grounds Committee during the extensive renovation of the buildings in preparation for the parish's 75th anniversary.

In 1993, Mr. Quinn received the first annual Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award from the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The award recognizes an outstanding alumni pharmacist who demonstrates "high ideals of professionalism" and "genuine concern for patients."

For 10 years, Mr. Baxter taught a three-credit course on Pharmacy Adjuncts at UB, where he served on several department committees.

He was active in the Pharmacy Association of Western New York, serving as chairman of the board for eight years, president and as head of several committees. He belonged to the Pharmaceutical Society of the State of New York, and was a members of its Ethics and Professional Education Committees.

He was a voting member of the Health Care Professionals of Western New York starting in 1985.

Besides his wife and son, Mr. Quinn is survived by six grandchildren, a son-in-law and a brother-in-law.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Christ the King Church, 30 Lamarck Dr., Snyder. Memorials may be made to Hospice Buffalo.

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