Pharmacist Pete McKeone retires after 36 years

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

At age 60, most folks are not ready to walk away from their chosen profession.

Not so for Pharmacist Pete McKeone who has been dispensing pills for 36 years, since 1977.

McKeone is the owner of Olson’s Drug at 5 4th Ave. SW which he bought from Harold Olson.

McKeone was born in Hastings, Neb., and the former Marine graduated from Creighton University located in Omaha, Neb.

Besides being a business owner, McKeone was also the pharmacist at Pondera Medical Center for over 30 years.

He and his wife Glenda have three children: Elizabeth, Mark and Neil, all who went through the Conrad school system and graduated from CHS.

When not hiding out in the back of Olson’s Drug, where the pharmacy section is located, McKeone likes to ski, go pheasant hunting and camping, and “I especially like picking huckleberries along with the Grizzly bears.”

He noted that, “I always wanted to have a plane, but my diabetes stopped that.” He is an avid reader and any James Michener novel is considered a favorite book.

Since he is retiring at a somewhat early age, he was asked if he had any special plans. “I want to enjoy myself more, maybe travel some, and have fun and visit my family.”

He went on to add, “I would like to work some part-time at the pharmacy, and maybe have fewer four-minute relationships with people, but have more 45-minute time with people.”

McKeone was asked why he chose pharmacy as a career.

He recalled, “a friend asked what I was in college for, and what I was going to do with it (a degree).

He said he was going to Med School, and I told him I didn’t have the grades for that. He said if he could not go to Med School, he would try for a profession in the dental field.

I said I don’t have the hand-eye coordination for that. My friend then said if he could not get into Med School or be a dentist, he would be a pharmacist.

I said, ‘What? Who would ever do that?’He said his dad was one, and had a drug store in North Omaha, and that I should go talk to him.I did, thought well of it, and I have been doing it ever since.

My friend’s father celebrated his 75th wedding anniversary a year ago, has been a pharmacist from WWII until now, and just quit flying his own Cessna about two years ago. Maurice Steier no longer goes to the family drug store any more—but two of his sons still do,” McKeone said.

An interesting fact about him is that if his hair does not always seem quite right, “It’s because I cut it myself,” he said. “I usually cut it early in the morning.”

On Dec. 4, from 1-4 p.m. there will be an Open House at Olson’s Drug for McKeone. The public is invited to stop by and have cake and coffee, and reminiscence with the retiring pharmacist.