Weise family celebrates 50 years in pharmacy service to community

Weise family celebrates 50 years in pharmacy service to community
Five generations: Tiffany Weise Schaible, Gilbert Weise, Jr., JoHelen Weise, Gilbert Weise, Sr. pose in front of portraits of Emil Weise, Sr., and Dr. Emil H. Weise.

Under the watchful portrait of their predecessors, Dr. Emil H. Weise and his father, Emil Weise, Sr., three generations of the Weise family – Gilbert Weise, Sr., his son, Gilbert, Jr. and granddaughter Tiffany Weise Schaible – are carrying on a family tradition in pharmacy, nutrition, and homeopathic medicine at their drugstore in Ortega.

Although Weise Prescription Shop and Natural Food Shoppe opened its doors in the Ortega Medical Arts Building on June 1, 1967, the family’s roots in medicine go back decades earlier when Gilbert Sr.’s father, Dr. Emil Weise, had a compounding laboratory in downtown Jacksonville, where he was a naturopathic physician and clinical nutritionist specializing in homeopathic medicine.

Gilbert Sr., grew up in Avondale, attending West Riverside Elementary School, John Gorrie Middle School and Robert E. Lee High School. Along with his brothers, Reinold and Edmund, Gilbert Sr. attended the University of Virginia Medical School, but each focused on a different specialty.

“I always thought I was going to be a doctor,” said Gilbert, Sr. After a hitch in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division, serving in Germany during the Korean War, he got a degree in psychology, then went to the University of Florida’s pharmacy school, where he met his future wife, JoHelen Cheek, who also holds a pharmacy degree.

While the couple served as pharmacists for other companies, JoHelen saved $10 from each of their paychecks until she had $2,000 saved to open their own apothecary, joining Gilbert’s brothers in the family’s corporation.

Reinold’s surgery practice and Edmund’s pediatric practice, as well as their mother Ruth’s vitamin and natural food shop, had already been established in the building located at 4343 Colonial Avenue, which was designed by their father, Emil Weise, to emulate Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Although neither the surgery or pediatric practices remain, the building is home to three generations of family in the pharmacy and natural foods business.

“I felt like I would always be in the family business, but wasn’t totally committed to it,” said Gilbert Weise, Jr., speaking of his initial studies at the University of Florida. “My undergraduate classes were in architecture, but because I am a people person and really love interacting with people. I couldn’t imagine myself in an office all day long every day.”

Gilbert, Jr.’s, daughter, Tiffany Weise Schaible, is also part of the family business. She had majored in public relations at the University of North Florida, but when the family business got so busy, she went to the University of Florida to become a certified pharmacy technician. “In the back of my mind, I always thought I would work in the family business,” said Schaible, who has been at the pharmacy six years now.

Gilbert Weise, Sr. said he is pleased the past 50 years have provided a service for the community and, in honor of the company’s Golden Anniversary, the Weise family will hold an open house Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with live music, food, beverages, and giveaways.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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