Robertson’s retirement ends 40-year career as pharmacist

Jennifer Cohron
Posted 1/18/15

Ray Robertson had his sights set on Auburn University’s veterinary program until bad directions and a convincing counselor altered the course of his life.

“My whole pharmacy career has been something of divine intervention,” said Robertson, …

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Robertson’s retirement ends 40-year career as pharmacist

Posted

Ray Robertson had his sights set on Auburn University’s veterinary program until bad directions and a convincing counselor altered the course of his life.

“My whole pharmacy career has been something of divine intervention,” said Robertson, the recently retired owner of Professional Pharmacy in Jasper.

The Decatur native arrived at Auburn with a group of drafting students. He was quickly informed that the College of Veterinary Medicine was located at the other end of campus from the engineering department.

Following the vague directions that he had been given, Robertson found himself at the School of Pharmacy in front of a woman he would soon come to know as Mom Rainey.

“I never made it to the vet school. She talked me into going to pharmacy school. She told me what a great career it was and that veterinarians didn’t make that much money anyway. It was hard, and it was an extra year of school. She told me all the negative points she could think about veterinary school and all the positive points of pharmacy school,” Robertson said.

Robertson graduated from Auburn in 1972.

Following a year-long internship in Decatur and a short stint in a Haleyville pharmacy, he accepted a job at Big B Drugs in Jasper in 1976.

After he left Big B, he filled in for a number of local pharmacists on their days off until the opportunity arose in 1981 to purchase Professional Pharmacy on Airport Road.

Just as Robertson had never seen himself as a pharmacist, the idea of being a pharmacy owner had never appealed to him until he after he became one.

“I had heard all the stories about how you are married to your job and you can’t do anything else,” he said.

In spite of his initial misgivings, Robertson and the pharmacy thrived for the next two decades.

In 2002, the pharmacy moved to a larger location next door to the original site.

After a 40-year career, Robertson decided to retire on Jan. 1. His business partner and fellow pharmacist Jake Barnett is now in charge of the day-to-day operations.

Robertson is still working on a part-time basis, which allows him to spend time with his family, as well as his longtime customers.

“A lot of them are just like family really. That’s part of the reason that I want to keep working some, because I enjoy getting to see my employees and the customers,” he said.