Denis Ribordy, pioneering NWI pharmacist, dies

NAPLES, Fla. – Denis E. Ribordy died at his home on Sept. 4. He was born in East Chicago July 20, 1929, to Myrel I. and Lela (Hunsley) Ribordy, who preceded him in death.

Mr. Ribordy graduated from Griffith High School in 1947 and attended Butler University receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Butler University College of Pharmacy in June 1952.
Surviving are his wife, Carolyn (McClurg) whom he married on June 20, 1954; daughters Cheryl (Paul) Blakey of Deerfield, Ill., and Nancy Ribordy of Chicago; sons Scott (Nadine) Ribordy, and Mark (Kay) Ribordy, all of Valparaiso; grandchildren; Kevin, Kyle, and Denis Ribordy, Mark and Meghan Blakey, and Nick, Luke, and Leah Ribordy; also surviving is a niece, Lori (Richard) Wallington, and nephews, Brian Weyhe, all of Alabama, and Bruce (Kara) Weyhe of Georgia.

His sister, Marilyn (Ribordy) Weyhe and nephew, Gregory Weyhe preceded him in death.

Mr. Ribordy served in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corp. from 1952-1954 at Camp Gordon, Ga. He became a partner in the Hill Drug Co. in Augusta, Ga., and in 1955 had the opportunity to buy into a drugstore at 6th and Broadway in Gary.

He became the founder and president of Ribordy Drugs Inc., a 26-store retail drug chain that was sold to Walgreen Co. in 1985. He then became president and chief executive officer of Ribordy Enterprises that held eight Hallmark shops which were sold in 1992.

He was a director emeritus of the AAA Chicago Motor Club and had served on the AAA Chicago Board since 1980. He was a former chairman of the American Red Cross, Gary Chapter, the Northwest Indiana Forum, and the Affiliated Drug Stores, New York City. He was a former president of the Gary Junior Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Indiana Association of Commerce and Industry, Gary Methodist Hospital Board of Trustees, the Town Board of Ogden Dunes, the Lake County Pharmaceutical Association, and the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Indiana.

He also was involved in the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association, and the National Association of Retail Druggists and Southern Drug Store Association. He was also a director of the Northern Indiana Public Service Co., Butler University Board of Trustees, Hunter Corp., Gainer Bank, Mercantile National Bank, Northwest Indiana Forum, Indiana State Board of Pharmacy, City Methodist Church and Trade Winds Rehabilitation Center. He was a non-resident vice-president of the Indiana Society of Chicago, and a member of the Ogden Dunes Presbyterian Church.
He received the Gary Jaycees Outstanding Young Man Award, 1962, Listed in Outstanding Young Men in America 1965, Pharmacist of the Year Award, Lake County Pharmacist Association, 1966, Boss of the Year award, American Business Women’s Association, 1966, A.H. Robins Bowl of Hygeia award (Indiana’s Pharmacist of the Year), 1967, U.S. Navy League Man of the Year Award, 1983, SBDC Lifetime Entrepreneur Award, 1992, and the 1997 Trade Winds Man of the Year Service Award, Butler University Trustee Medal of Distinction, 1999. He received the Sagamore of the Wabash award from Gov. Robert Orr.

In 2008, he was honored to be included in the inaugural selection of the Times Business and Industry Hall of Fame. In 2009, Denis and Carolyn were awarded the Butler Medal of Distinguished Services.
He was involved in many civic affiliations including the Indiana Retirement Communities Inc., Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Nature Conservancy, and served as a member of the Post-Tribune Advisory Board 1979-1980.
Mr. Ribordy was a 50-year member of the Griffith Masonic Lodge 735. He served in the Orak Shrine Temple Divan, serving as Potentate in 1979. He was a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of South Bend, the York Rite and advanced to the 33rd degree in 1981. He also served as President of the Great Lakes Shrine Association in 1987. He received the order of De Molay, the Royal Order of Jesters, the Red Cross of Constantine and the Sovereign Grand Commander’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2010.
He and Carolyn established the Denis Ribordy Endowed Scholarship for pharmacy students interested in community pharmacy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Denis Ribordy Scholarship in care of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208 or the 32nd degree Masonic Learning Centers for Children, Inc., P.O. Box 55881, Boston, MA 02205-5881.

Burial has taken place.

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