Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Lawrence Giglio, who ran Larry's Drugs for 30 years, dies at 71

TAMPA — Lawrence Giglio was the kind of pharmacist who took calls at home from anxious customers. Parents who called him "Doc" phoned about an infant's sore throat, a child's ear ache.

Larry's Drugs, a mainstay for 30 years on Linebaugh Avenue in Forest Hills, was that kind of pharmacy.

Mr. Giglio also opened his store in the middle of the night in emergencies and delivered medications to residences and nursing homes.

In all things, Mr. Giglio insisted on providing for those around him.

Family members say he was forceful but not threatening. When he vacationed in Italy, cab drivers who had never met him called him padre forte, or strong father.

Mr. Giglio, a Tampa native who owned Larry's Drugs from 1966 to 1996, died Monday, several months after suffering a stroke. He was 71.

He tried to give his daughters the best, buying new cars when they turned 16 and putting them through private schools. He avoided spending on himself and discouraged gifts.

So his wife bought his big and tall clothes, got them dry cleaned so he wouldn't suspect and slipped them into his closet.

"He would say, 'I know I've never seen this before,' " said Rose Marie Giglio, 70. "And I'd say, 'Well, you must have forgotten because you wore that last year.' "

Despite his earnestness, Mr. Giglio was far from serious. He wielded a brazen and blunt-spoken wit that could throw strangers off guard.

"At first they would take it offensively," said longtime friend Henry Borrego, 68. "Then they would figure out that it was basically said in jest, and start laughing. Somehow he just got away with saying things like that, and I don't know exactly how he did it."

He invented nicknames for friends and relatives: "Peanut Farmer," "Ice T," "Chat Room." Pretty soon, everyone else called them that too.

Two of his daughters are pharmacists now; a third is an elementary school principal. All three families live within a half-mile in the Carrollwood area.

Business at Larry's Drugs got tougher in the mid-1990s, due to a K-Mart to the east of the store and a Walgreens to the south. He closed in 1996 and spent more time traveling with his wife.

Mr. Giglio enjoyed reading, the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But mostly he relished meeting the needs of his family.

"That is the only thing in his life where he strived to be perfect," his wife said. "He wanted everyone to know that he did everything in his power to be the most perfect provider that ever lived."

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