Derek Lawson Smith (1943–2022)

On 1 November 2022, Derek Lawson Smith, aged 79 years, of Blackburn, Lancashire. Mr Lawson Smith registered with the Society in 1966.


I was very sad when I heard about the death of Derek Smith of Blackburn, Lancashire.

I first met Derek at the Bradford Institute of Technology in 1963, where we were fellow students.  He had already completed one year of practical (preregistration) training at Timothy Whites & Taylors Ltd chemist. He was a maestro at table tennis (well, ping-pong), collected every new James Bond book as it came out in hardback and was fond of the word “schizogenous”. He would proclaim that adjective after a range of provocations. That word (from the pharmacognosy of fond memory) describes the sort of glands that spray volatile (orange-smelling) oil when you rub a fingernail over the pitted peel of an orange.

After three years of study, he passed all final examinations (of our Society) in one sitting and so was also retrospectively awarded a BPharm degree from the newly chartered University of Bradford. Derek started his career after statutory registration as a “pharmaceutical chemist” (the legal name, then, for “pharmacist”) and became a member of our Society (that was, in those days, the registering body).

His first post was at Peels and then at a branch of Lloyds. He was the manager of that pharmacy for many years. He was just an ordinary provincial community pharmacist serving local people. Yes — but also no.

He became a pillar of the local community, the sort of pharmacist who makes us proud to belong to the same profession. He would be, on occasion, the confidante of patients and their relatives in distress and who did not have to wait for three weeks for a seven-minute slot to see “The Professional”. He would sit with them at the back of the shop (dispensary) and have a cup of tea. In the summer heat, he would offer orange juice. On the day of his retirement, he was astonished to find that his patients had dressed the front of his shop with balls, balloons and other decorations.

Derek was a doting family man and a warm-hearted gentleman. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 16 years and passed away on 1 November 2022. I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife Yvonne, children Adam and Samantha, and grandchildren Luke, Georgia and Theo. We miss him.

Malcolm E. Brown

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2023, Vol 310, No 7969;310(7969)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2023.1.171090

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