George S. Yacoubian, 79, of Broomall, a Havertown pharmacist who made himself available to customers round the clock, died Monday, Feb. 29, of pancreatic cancer at home.
Mr. Yacoubian's dream always had been to operate his own pharmacy, so after managing Ithan Pharmacy in Villanova for several years, he bought Coulson's Pharmacy in Havertown, which he ran from 1976 to 1999, working six days a week.
Mr. Yacoubian told the Inquirer in 1994 that he saw many of the same customers year after year in the store at 66 Brookline Blvd.
"We know their names, and often we know their needs," he said. "And we have some sense of family background."
Mr. Yacoubian put his home phone number on all prescription bottles and was often called after store hours to make deliveries. During an ice storm in 1993, he navigated the slick streets to reach sick customers.
"We're available 24 hours," Mr. Yacoubian said. "If they need that medicine in the middle of the night, I'm OK to open the store in the middle of the night for them."
Cancer patient Marie Belluardo, a customer at Coulson's from the time Mr. Yacoubian took it over, told the Inquirer in 1994 that he always asked how she was doing and knew the details of her medication.
"He's very knowledgeable, and he always checks details," she said. "He's always one step ahead when it comes to his customers." She died in 1995 at age 68.
Born in Philadelphia to Armenian parents, Mr. Yacoubian graduated from Lansdowne-Aldan High School in 1955 and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science four years later. He served in the Army Reserve.
In 1967, he married Claire Margaret Yacoubian, and the couple had two children, whom they raised in Broomall, where the family lived for 46 years.
Mr. Yacoubian made a good living from the pharmacy and believed in giving back to society, his family said. That belief spawned an active avocation of philanthropy and civic leadership, especially within the Philadelphia Armenian community.
A member of the Knights of Vartan for 36 years, Mr. Yacoubian was elected grand commander of the organization in 2002. He led the Philadelphia Branch of the Armenian Students' Association and the Philadelphia Armenian General Benevolent Union, a nonprofit that educates Armenians worldwide.
He also was a trustee of the Armenian Assembly, founding treasurer of the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR), and a contributor to the newspaper Armenian Mirror-Spectator.
He served as president of the Haverford Township Club of Rotary International and volunteered for Meals on Wheels with his wife.
He enjoyed history, politics, the beach, traveling, playing backgammon, and reading. Reserved and unpretentious, Mr. Yacoubian doted on his family.
"A man of few words and simple pleasures, he was happiest, and will fondly be remembered, smoking his cigar sitting in the sun while working on a crossword puzzle (in pen) and listening to the ball game on AM radio," his family said.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, George S. Jr.; daughter Kim A.; and three grandchildren.
A viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Vraim Funeral Home, 66 S. State Rd., Upper Darby, will be followed by a second viewing starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 3, at St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, 630 Clothier Rd., Wynnewood. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 3, at the church. Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.
Donations may be made to the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief, c/o George S. Yacoubian Jr., 150 N. Radnor Chester Rd., Suite F-200, Radnor, Pa. 19087, or the Armenian Sisters Academy, 440 Upper Gulph Rd., Radnor, Pa. 19087.