Pharmily Photos: The Creech Family

A look back at the lives, passions, and impact of Tar Heel pharmacists Grover Creech ’54 and Marcia Creech Parks ’78

Story by Kirsten Beattie | Photos courtesy of Marcia Creech Parks | Published November 15, 2022

Our Pharmily Photos series shares the stories of our people. Some are Tar Heels born and bred while others are adopted. All are connected by our love of UNC and our passion for helping patients. This photo journey spotlights two generations of UNC School of Pharmacy alumni: Grover ’54 and Ruby Creech and Marcia Creech Parks ’78.

Grover Creech's Path to Becoming a Pharmacist

Grover was born in 1926 in Kenly, NC, and helped with the family farm before joining the United States Army. Grover fought in World War II, serving in Germany during the final year of the conflict. Following the war in 1948, Grover married his childhood sweetheart, Ruby Stancil. Grover's brother, Joseph A Creech, opened Creech Drug in Selma, NC in 1940. He had a pharmacist working for him that was going to retire, so he persuaded Grover Creech to attend Pharmacy School and return to work with him.

Life at Pharmacy School

During Grover's time at the UNC School of Pharmacy, he and Ruby lived with their young son, Phil, in the married student housing at Victory Village. On top of caring for Phil, Ruby worked as secretary to Dean Brauer at the recently-established UNC School of Dentistry, and helped organize and lead the UNC Pharmacy Student Wives Organization. Ruby also assisted in fundraising events for the Institute of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill.

Grover Graduates in 1954

Grover graduated from the UNC School of Pharmacy in 1954 with a BS in Pharmacy degree. After graduation, he and Ruby moved to Selma, NC where Grover joined his brother, Joe, as a pharmacist at Creech Drug Company.

Grover and Ruby's Daughter, Marcia

In 1955, shortly after Grover began work at Creech Drug Company, he and Ruby welcomed a new baby into the world: Marcia Creech. Her birth announcement, in true pharmacist fashion, was modeled as a New Product Arrival Announcement.

Life at Creech Drug Company

Grover threw himself into his work at Creech Drug Company - he loved serving his community as a pharmacist. In the same year he began working there, he also founded and served as the first president of the Johnston County Pharmacy Association. Marcia recalls, "As a child growing up, I remember the long hours my dad worked. If we wanted to see Dad, we would ride our bikes to the drug store."

Meanwhile, Ruby stayed very active in many community activities: Chair of Heart Fund and March of Dimes, Cub Scout Den Mother, Girl Scout Leader, Charter member and President of Selma Garden Club, Executive Board of the PTA, Director of Missions Groups for Selma Baptist Church, Sunday School Teacher, and Church Youth Activities.

Founding of Medical Center Pharmacy 

In 1967, Grover and Ruby moved to Smithfield. There, he opened Medical Center Pharmacy with Marshall Sasser, BSPhar ’52. Around the same time, Grover and his brother-in-law, Curtis Johnson, started a construction company, J and C Homes Company. The company built the Medical Center Building and other offices for physicians. Through this, Grover helped recruit other medical professionals to the area.

Continuing Community Service

While Grover kept busy with Medical Center Pharmacy, Ruby became very active in community service in Smithfield, from civic organizations to the local American Cancer Society to community organizations and their local church. She was an avid gardener, artist, sewer and quilter and often applied her talents in the service of others. She served as President of the Woman’s Auxiliary on the NC Pharmaceutical Association in 1970, commemorating the association’s 100th anniversary. She received Life Membership in the Woman’s Auxiliary in 1978.

Marcia Creech Follows in her Father's Footsteps

Marcia, having grown up in her father's pharmacies, decided to also become a pharmacist. Like Grover, Marcia attended the UNC School of Pharmacy where she graduated with her BS in Pharmacy degree in 1978. As she says, "I had worked in the drug store with my dad since I was 15. My birth announcement was a prescription - guess I had no choice!"

During her time at UNC, Marcia met Gary Parks, BA '75, DDS '79. They married in 1980 and have been together since.

A Lifetime Commitment to Community Service

In 2002, Grover and Ruby were the first couple to receive the prestigious M. Keith Fearing Award for life-long community pharmacy service, recognizing their outstanding patient dedication, community engagement and professional involvement. The NC Association of Pharmacy also recognized Grover’s devoted service for more than fifty years. Throughout his career he was always there to serve his customers, support the local doctors, and encourage young pharmacy professionals.

True Blue Tar Heels

Grover and Ruby truly loved the University of North Carolina and they passed that love down to their children, Phil, Marcia, Byron, and Lucia - three of whom went to UNC as well. Marcia's children, Jennifer and Justin also love UNC, with Jennifer graduating class of 2005.

In 2022, Marcia and her husband, Gary, created the Grover and Ruby Creech Community Pharmacy Award. The annual student award honors Marcia’s parents by recognizing students with an interest in pursuing community pharmacy careers.

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