Don R. Smucker
Smucker was born in Middlebury and graduated from Middlebury High School in 1946. He went to the Purdue University School of Pharmacy, graduating in 1950, and went to work at Smucker Drugs with his father, Ora, and brother, Farver, both pharmacists.
“I enjoyed working late on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer when they had band concerts and free movies in the park across the street,” Smucker said.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in November 1950 and station at Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky for basic training with the 101st Airborne Division before being transferred to Ft. Myers, Virg., for reassignment to Ft. Sam Houston Medical Field Service School in San Antonio, Texas. “We trained others to be pharmacy techs, a great 16-week program,” Smucker recalled. “Our graduates went on to serve in Army hospitals or MASH units in Korea.”
Smucker married Berneita Gorden in December 1951 and they lived in San Antonio while he finished his service. “After discharge, I went home to work in the family drugstore in Middlebury with my brother, who had been recalled into the Army and discharged about the same time,” Smucker said.
The pharmacy moved to a larger building and improved the drugstore with a gift and collectibles area. “And what most of our customers also loved – a soda foundation,” Smucker stated.
Smucker served on the Middlebury Town Council, the Middlebury Community School Board, and the Elkhart County Council. He also served for two years as director of Indiana Pharmacists Continuing Education Program.
Smucker is also a member of Middlebury American Legion Post 210.
“My wife and I worked in the drugstore for 41 years and then sold the store and retired,” Smucker said. “During retirement, we joined Brethren Volunteer Service and worked in a food bank in Phoenix, Ariz., for six months. That was a great experience!”
After that, the town wanted to start a Middlebury Historical Museum and asked Smucker to be a director, where he served on a volunteer basis for 12 years with the full-time director.
Smucker and his wife “have been blessed with a daughter, Keli, and a son, Ted, and their wonderful families – five grandchildren, three girls and two boys, and a great-granddaughter,” Smucker said.