Ilion Alumni Pharmacist

Harold Griffith - IHS 1914?

November 2020

By Aileen Carney Sweeney


Harold Griffith - Albany College of Pharmacy Graduation 1921
Harold Griffith - Albany College of Pharmacy graduating class 1921

Harold Griffith - IHS Alumnus - Pharmacist

Harold Griffith was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Griffith of Fourth St.. He was born January 19, 1896. He was raised in Ilion and attended Ilion schools. He is not listed as a graduate of any particular year. He may have graduated in 1914. He worked for the C. T. Getman Pharmacy in Ilion before he attended and graduated from the Albany School of Pharmacy in 1921. Oftentimes, Harold's last name was misspelled in newspaper stories as Griffiths, instead of Griffith.

Harold Griffith married Ethel Thomas, IHS Salutatorian Class of 1918, on August 15, 1921. They made their home at 10 Fourth St., Ilion.

On April 9, 1924, C. T. Getman has sold his drug business to Harold Griffith. The business was located in the Heacock building, on 9 Main street, Ilion. Harold Griffith always made his home in Ilion, "...aside from the time spent at the Albany College of Pharmacy and in the conduct a drug store at Boonville. He is a young man of pleasing personality, well versed in the pharmaceutical trade and should make a success of his new venture. Mr. Getman has not announced his future plans." Richfield Springs Mercury, April 10, 1924 -


Harold Griffith Pharmacist
25 Years in Ilion
Harold Griffith, Fred J. O'Donnell and Louis Nehr

April 7, 1949 Ilion Sentinel -


Popular Ilion Pharmacist

Below is the text from an article titled "Popular Ilion Pharmacist on Second 30 Years of Community Public Service", that was published in the Ilion Sentinel on April 1, 1954. - Popular Ilion Pharmacist - April 1, 1954 - Ilion Sentinel -

When you have owned and operated a business establishment for thirty years - have kept the business and steadily improved it through thick and thin in the same location for three decades . . . and still enjoy serving the public with the same enthusiasm that you had when you started in . . . you have accomplished something that is pretty rare in our day and age.

Such a person is Mr. Harold Griffith, known affectionately to his friends as "Griff, who this week is marking his thirtieth year owner and operator-of Griffith's Pharmacy on West Main St, Ilion.

It was back in 1924 when young Griffith took over his Main. Street location from Claire Getman. He was as anxious to make a success of his new venture as any young businessman starting out on his own, and eager to prove himself to Ilion residents. After all. he had only been out of the Albany School of Pharmacy for three years.

He was not a stranger in Ilion, however. After graduation, he had worked in what is now Baker's Pharmacy for Mr. Bentley and later with Mr. Carney at the present site of Mulvey's Pharmacy.

After that he worked in a Rome Pharmacy and then for two years ran another in Boonville. before coming back to Ilion to stay.

In the meanwhile, Griff married the former Ethel Thomas in 1921. They have one daughter. Mrs. Lyle Trowbridge of Rochester. N. Y.

Right, from the start, young Harold Griffith made a hit with Ilionites. He was as genial a fellow as you would want to meet, and his ready smile son for him many friends and assured his business success from the start.

The years passed swiftly by for the Griffiths, as the business continues to prosper. The "roarin' twenties" passed and then the depression, which Grif was able to weather without serious trouble.

Then came the war years, when the local factories were going full blast. When help became impossible to get, Mrs. Griffith came in to help her husband, and has remained ever since.

It was during these war years that business hit an all time peak. Seems that the bus stop was located directly in front of the store and three times a day as Remington Army employees got off the bus they would stop by for one of Griff's delicious ice cream dishes. Mrs. Griffith recalls that every day the customers would form lines for to five deep in back of each seat as they waited their turn. This kept business booming for the Griffiths and their two young helpers, William Anderson and George Koerner.

The present store is a far cry from its appearance back in 1924. Griffith has expanded it three times making the store nearly twice as large as its originally had been.

Far from being ready to retire, Griff seems to enjoy his work as much if not more than he did when he started in. He plans to continue serving the valley folk for many more years to come, together with his wife, Mrs. Harold Houseknecht, who has served as cosmetician, for the past 12 years and Miss Delores Bouck.


Harold Griffith - Obituary

Below is the text from the obituaries of Harold Griffith and his wife, Ethel Griffith IHS 1918.

"Harold Griffith a local pharmacist for 49 years passed away Tuesday. Mr. Griffith is survived by his wife the former Ethel Thomas, a daughter Mrs. Steve (Shirley) Fodor of Endicott NY.; and a granddaughter ; Miss Vanessa Trowbridge of Fairport, NY. Memorial services will be from the First Presbyterian Church at a time to be announced. Cremation will be in Waterville. There are no calling hours. Friends are asked to consider donations to the Ilion Ambulance Fund or the Presbyterian Church. Arrangements by Whiter- Hendrix Funeral Home." Harold Griffith Obituary - February 23, 1977 - The Utica Daily Press -

"Ethel Griffith, [IHS Class of 1918] formerly of 10 Fourth St., passed away January 6. 1984, in Tioga General Hospital. She was born November 4, 1900 in Ilion and was the daughter of Elmer and Arthesa Thomas and was married to Harold Griffith August 15, 1921. He passed away February 23, 1977. She was educated in Ilion schools and Geneseo Normal School and was a teacher for Ilion schools. Mrs. Griffith was a member of the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the D.A.R., the Ilion O.E.S. and the Historical Club. She was also a descendant of the Grimm Brothers, who authorized Grimm's Fairy Tales and also a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Ilion. She is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Stephen (Shirley) Fodor of Endicott; one granddaughter, Vanessa Douglas of Rochester; one nephew, Lewis Jones of Fairport. A memorial service will be held at a later date and interment will take place in Armory Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Ilion First Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are with Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home, Ilion." - Ethel Griffith Obituary - January 8, 1984 - The Sunday Daily Observer Dispatch -


Charles Lynch Buys Griffiths Pharamacy

In 1959, Charles Lynch moved to Ilion from Herkimer and bought the Griffith Pharmacy on 9 West Main Street. In 1962, Lynch moved the pharmacy to Otsego Street. He sold the business to William Wardle in 1970.

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Photographs 1921 - Harold Griffith
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Commencement 1921 - Harold Griffith
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Yearbook 1950 - Charles Lynch
Lynch Pharmacy Sold To Wardle - July 1, 1970 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1970 00710.pdf
Harold Ingersoll Griffith January 2021 -
Ethel Thomas Griffith January 2021 -

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November 27, 2020 - Modified March 27, 201