Richard DeGarmo retires after 50 years, closes DeGarmo's Compounding Pharmacy

lpemberton@theolympian.comJune 5, 2014 

DeGarmo’s Compounding Pharmacy on Olympia’s west side has closed its doors for good.

After working as a pharmacist for 50 years, Richard DeGarmo said it was simply time to retire.

“I’ve got other things in my life that I want to do,” the 75-year-old Tumwater-area resident said. “… It’s time to go.”

Close friend Cecil Thompson said he thinks DeGarmo will remain a fixture in the community with various service projects.

“He’s very energetic,” said Thompson, who is the pastor of Tumwater Chapel of Grace. “He’s someone who really cares about people.”

DeGarmo is transferring all of his customers to Randy’s Compounding Pharmacy and Nutrition Center in Olympia’s East Side neighborhood. It is owned by Brad Livingstone, and the two men are working on making it a smooth transition for customers, DeGarmo said.

“We just want to welcome them here,” Livingstone said. “… Our commitment to quality is the same as his.”

DeGarmo and his wife, Susan, haven’t decided what they’ll do with the 1,200-square-foot storefront at 1907 Harrison Ave. NW — although they have been contacted by people who are interested in buying or renting it, he said.

DeGarmo grew up in Berkeley, California. He and his first wife moved to Olympia in 1988 and bought the pharmacy, which was part of a chain.

In 2000, he broke away from the franchise agreement and traditional pharmacy work and began compounding, or tailoring dosages for individualized remedies.

At first, DeGarmo said he enjoyed the science part of it. But then he realized that he could create therapies for people and pets that weren’t available elsewhere.

“He’s very knowledgeable in the areas of compounding,” Livingstone said. “He’s really made a difference in people with their health and really had some creative solutions for tough health problems.”

DeGarmo said he’ll miss the personal interaction with people, but he won’t miss the long hours of running a small business.

“I look forward to the time when I can turn over in the bed, and say, ‘You know what? I’m going back to sleep,’” he said with a chuckle.

He said he’s also looking forward to traveling, working at the Union Gospel Mission and visiting people in nursing homes.

He also wants to volunteer more often at the Amtrak Centennial Station in Lacey, which he helped get built in 1993. He’s supervised the station’s all-volunteer staff for several years.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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