The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

June 13, 2013

Carl Burris: First pharmacist

WASHINGTON — Two hundred and sixty years ago, a Philadelphia hospital became the first American hospital to hire a salaried apothecary - what we now commonly call a pharmacist. The year was 1752 and the job description read: “to prepare and compound the medicines and administer them agreeable to the prescriptions of the physicians and surgeons.”

The hiring was unusual, perhaps even ahead of its time as most hospitals in colonial America relied on physicians to dispense their own medicines, a tendency that persisted well into 20th Century. By the year 1960, it was estimated that only half of America’s hospitals employed a staff pharmacist.

Bucking that trend in 1951 however, then Daviess County Hospital hired local boy Carl Burris whose prescriptions must have been “agreeable” to a good many surgeons and physicians because he remained on the job for the next 36 years.

One of 11 children of Nora and Eugene Burris, Carl was born in Washington on March 1, 1925. After finishing grade school at Southside, he worked as a “soda jerk” at Williams Drugstore while in high school. He also served in the cadet corps and after graduating from WHS in 1943, Burris, like most young men his age at the time, joined the service.

“I graduated high school one week then left town the next,” he recalled.

Trained as a “turret mechanic,” Burris served in the Air Force during World War II, part of a ground crew on the island of Saipan where he serviced and loaded B-29 bombers. Burris remained in the Air Force after the war ended and has fond memories of loading food and clothing into B-29s that would then fly to mainland Japan and drop the supplies by parachute into POW camps where American servicemen were still being held.

His hitch in the military ended in 1946 and he returned to Washington. In those days he recalls, Williams Drugstore, “was the place to go. I walked in and Joe Williams saw me and welcomed me home and said, ‘Do you want a job?’” Burris said yes and was working as a soda jerk once again when he was approached sometime later by Joe Williams’ brother John who told Carl he should consider going to pharmacy school. Burris looked in to it, weighed his options, decided it was a good idea and eventually, at John Williams’ urging, selected Butler over Purdue.

Text Only
Local News
  • Today's police report CITY REPORT Thursday 3:24 a.m. - Police investigated a motorcycle accident at the corner of Northwest Third Street and West Main Street. Officers say the operator lost control of the vehicle while attempting to make a turn because the kickstand was s

    July 31, 2014

  • Band01 Golden Pride put pieces together for new show For the 30-plus members of the Washington High School Golden Pride marching band, the past two weeks have been long and full of work. After one week of exclusively working on music the band hit the field and began putting together the marching pieces

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hoosier Democrats call for campaign funding limits Indiana Democrat candidates and party leaders brought their "we can do better" government campaign tour to Bloomington. The Democrats called for a lot of changes. One of those on hand was District 39 Senate candidate Steve Lindsey who called for more

    July 31, 2014

  • Kruchten moved to Knox County A Daviess County jail inmate facing murder charges has been temporarily moved to Knox County. Reports that Donal Kruchten, who was arrested in April in connection with the murder of Devan Burris, was moved to the Knox County Jail for his own safety a

    July 31, 2014

  • Dailae abd Vincdnt.jpg Dailey and Vincent return to SJG ODON — Lovers of bluegrass music will have a chance to see the award winning bluegrass duo of Dailey and Vincent perform at the Simon J. Graber Community Building Saturday. Tickets for the event are only available at the door at are $15 for adults, $

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts get to take a break ANDERSON — There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two. With the Colts set to have Tuesday as an already scheduled day off, head coach Chuck Pagano combined the

    July 31, 2014

  • Washington City Council hears 2015 budget proposals Mayor Joe Wellman and the members of the Washington City Council met with city department heads Wednesday evening to hear the proposed budgets for 2015. Wellman said he had proposed pay increases for both hourly and salary employees. Those increases

    July 30, 2014

  • Barr-Reeve responds to teachers' complaint MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve Community School Corporation has responded to the unfair labor practice complaint filed by the Barr-Reeve Classroom Teachers Association against the corporation. Earlier this month, the CTA filed the complaint with Indiana

    July 30, 2014

  • Sandra Hotz Sandra M. Hotz, 66, of Washington, died at 7:20 a.m. Tuesday at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. The body of Sandra Hotz was cremated and there will be no services. Burial will be at a later date. Arrangements are being made through Brocksmith-Blake

    July 30, 2014

  • Fears' suit against Pike school board dismissed

    EVANSVILLE — A federal judge threw out former Otwell Elementary Principal Rick Fears' suit against the Pike County School Corporation on Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014