Lou Frantzen passed away on February 26, 2008, the morning of his 88th birthday. Prior to his birthday, Club members Fred and Marty Dearborn had coordinated an initiative to send a large number of cards and notes to Lou. The Club has been told that many of these cards were read to Lou and he enjoyed them greatly. Lou was a longtime district manager in the Central Region in the 1960s and 1970s. He was one of the true leaders and mentors of the company and had a significant impact on the careers and lives of many.
Several Club members have shared fond recollections of Lou:
Lou Frantzen was my District manager in the mid-1960s. He always was visible to let us know that is was watching to make sure our work was up to his expectations (with the possible exception of the few days when the Green Bay Packers played at home). However, he also let us know that he would take the time to understand out concerns and to implement whatever action was necessary to improve the workplace and the personal satisfaction of Osco people.
Lou was a tough taskmaster who achieved results while simultaneously securing the respect and admiration from people in all his stores. I will never forget his vigorous handshakes (my knuckles still tremble at the thought of his firm grip). Years later when I served as ‘first assistant’ for Lou for a while, I continued to learn from the founders with its wisdom of experience while simultaneously demonstrating the willingness to implement innovations suggested by management’s current generation. The ‘bottom line’ is that Lou Frantzen was an Osco pioneer for whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for building a remarkable business. He will be missed. Bill Jacobs
I first met Lou Frantzen in 1963 at store #826 in Iowa City, Iowa. Lou’s brother Bob was the manager and I was a part timer finishing up pharmacy school at the University of Iowa. Low, an Iowa grad student, loved football and always came for the homecoming. he Frantzens were from Manchester, Iowa and Lou as a youth work at Groves Pharmacy which was owned by my uncle. Lou would laugh and tell me about being a soda jerk there as most independent pharmacies in those days had a soda fountain.
Lou Frantzen’s era has always held a special meaning to me, as the Frantzens, Hildens, Haas, Curtis’, Dearborns and many others were the leaders, mentors and more in what was a very small company.
Lou always had a kind word of encouragement and a huge smile. He was the type of person that when he spoke up at district managers meeting everyone listened, because what he would say always was meaningful.
I learned a lot from Lou, about how to treat people with dignity and respect. A man of great integrity and empathy; he would do anything to help you. I will remember and miss that great smile and, oh yes, remember that handshake? If you had a ring on your right hand you might want to remove it before Lou greeted you with the strength of a handshake you would never forget. How lucky were we to have a man like Lou Frantzen as a friend and leader in our business.
Upon graduating from college I joined Osco as a pharmacist in downtown Rockford, Illinois, one of our better stores in the mid 1960s. Low was my first District Manager and I was immediately captivated with this enthusiastic and encouraging style. The firmness of his handshake convinced you that he was a friend and ally that you could count on. His natty attire in business suit and hat was an indication of his personal pride, not just his appearance, but all he did.
As my responsibilities grew to include the over-the-counter drugs, I quickly learned of the profitability of the Dr. Scholl’s rack as Lou never made a store visit without inspecting the foot-care section. What a positive impression and lasting friendship he made with this naïve, young employee! Mr. Frantzen, all of us in your Osco family remember you fondly. Roger Carpenter
Seldom does someone walk into our lives that have the impact of Lou Frantzen. He was truly a respected member of the Osco Family and will be missed by all who knew him. It was an honor to be hi co-worker and friend. Fred Dearborn
I had the privilege of working with Lou when he was a district manager in the Central Region. What I remember most about Lou was that he had a no-nonsense approach to the business. He was always firm and fair. His people always knew where they stood with Lou. When I think of Lou, I always think of two other Iowa guys, Ron Haas and Fred Dearborn -a tremendous threesome. These were guys that made a great impact on Osco Drug. They led the way and for what we can all be thankful. Lou, you lived well and will be missed by many. Tork Fuglestad