Port Stephens pharmacist Kerry Schiemer hangs up his white coat on 60-year career

RETIREMENT: Kerry Schiemer, with wife Marie-Therese, outside their Salamander Haven home on the eve of retirement after 60-plues years in pharmacy.
RETIREMENT: Kerry Schiemer, with wife Marie-Therese, outside their Salamander Haven home on the eve of retirement after 60-plues years in pharmacy.

Highly respected Port Stephens pharmacist Kerry Schiemer will put away his white coat for the final time later this month, closing a 60-year chapter on what he describes as "a blessed career".

Mr Schiemer, who remembers riding horse to primary school in a small town near his parents' Coolah farm, will officially retire on July 31, his 83rd birthday.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my career as a pharmacist, looking after and helping people has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy the face to face contact and handing out advice," he said from his home at Salamander Haven.

"My motto over the 60-plus years has been to 'help sick people get well, and healthy people stay healthy' and it has served me well. I can now retire content in the knowledge that I have made some impact on people's lives."

Kerry Schiemer attended the exclusive St Joseph's College high school, graduating in 1955 in the hope of becoming a pilot in the RAAF.

"But I received the devastating news that I couldn't enlist because I was colour blind. For some reason one of the Brothers at the school thought I would do well as a chemist so I put my name down and headed back home to help on the family farm."

A year later Kerry decided to give pharmacy a three month trial and immediately loved the work. He completed a four-year apprenticeship - including two years at a Newcastle pharmacy - which was where he met and later married his wife [of 58 years] Marie-Therese.

"I have worked at a number of different pharmacies across Newcastle and at one stage I owned by own practice at Whitebridge. I have been very fortunate to have some wonderful mentors over the years."

In 1992 the Schiemers purchased the Shoal Bay Pharmacy, which they operated for eight years and for the past two decades Kerry has worked as a part-time locum, including the past 15 years at Wanda Beach Pharmacy.

The great grandfather has also maintained his interest in flying. He obtained his pilot's licence in 1969 and he and wife Marie-Therese remain active in the community. "I think my last day at the pharmacy will be very emotional," he added.

Kerry Schiemer in his traditional white coat.

Kerry Schiemer in his traditional white coat.