The independent, locally owned pharmacy is one of the staples of the American small town, and Weigants’ Pharmacy on Kihekah Avenue in Pawhuska this week celebrated 40 years that it has contributed to that tradition.
Ellen Fronkier Weigant, who was valedictorian of her Pawhuska High School class in 1971, opened the business Oct. 1, 1979, along with her late husband, Jim.
Ellen and Jim Weigant finished their pharmacy education in 1976 at the University of Oklahoma. He died nearly five years ago, just short of his 62nd birthday.
The Weigants made their home in Pawhuska, where they reared six children, and Ellen Weigant says she has found her choice of career and home to be very rewarding.
“I’ve loved being a pharmacist. At times it is a ministry,” Ellen said in a brief interview last week. She explained that she had been interested in medicine, but didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse. Once she made her decision, she never looked back.
Ellen and Jim bought an existing pharmacy in Pawhuska, Lovelace Drug, and their business was initially located along 6th Street, across from a doctor’s office that was located where the county E-911 office is now. After a fire in 1981, they moved to the current location, which is 714 Kihekah.
All six of the Weigant children live in Oklahoma, some of them in Pawhuska, and the family’s love of Osage County runs deep, Ellen Weigant said. She recalled talking to one of her sons, who briefly studied abroad during his days as a law student, and asking him what Ireland looked like.
“Osage County,” she recalls him responding. Ellen said she might have been interested, when she was a youth, in living somewhere else, but adds, “It didn’t wake me long to realize this is where I want to be.”
Ellen Fronkier Weigant is the daughter of Frantz and Eleanor Fronkier.
Her husband’s family moved from Oregon to Oklahoma when he was in sixth grade, and they adjusted well to Oklahoma, Ellen Weigant said. Jim Weigant was active with Boy Scouts and served on the Pawhuska City Council, including service as mayor.