Walt Popejoy, owned Benner’s Pharmacy, dies

By on December 14, 2016

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Walter C. Popejoy, better known as “Walt,” the man who owned and operated Benner’s Pharmacy at 40 E. Main St. for nearly 30 years, died at home Monday in the company of his family. He was 72.

Walt retired from the popular downtown drug store and soda fountain in 1999, but his place in the annals of legendary Lititz businesses is firmly entrenched. He bought the pharmacy from Clyde Benner in 1972 and it, along with Bingy’s Restaurant at the railroad tracks, was a local social hub for many years. Benner’s was well known for its nickel cup of coffee, and many of the town’s movers and shakers could be found at the soda fountain counter attempting to solve the world’s problems over a hot cup of joe and a few laughs.

“Walt purchased Benner’s the same year I started as advertising manager for the Lititz Record, so I knew him from the time he came to town,” said Don Campbell, now retired. “He was a loyal supporter of the town newspaper. His ‘little man with the signboard’ ads appeared weekly, and he was a great supporter of the Lititz Retailers’ Association. He helped to organize, and participated in, many downtown events and, after joining the Lititz Lions Club, was instrumental in organizing the Lions car show still held on Main Street every August. He had a great sense of humor and a great affection for his adopted town of Lititz!”

Rodney Moseman, former president of the Retailers’ Association who owned Bicycle World, said he will always remember Walt as a true downtown character.

“I always enjoyed his company, and it was fun to be in his store,” he shared this week. “He was very active in the community, and he wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion. And he was a generous man; always willing to help. He was one of our iconic business owners, and they seem to be slowly passing away.”

Despite his popularity, Walt was a humble guy, and when the Record Express reported the closing of Benner’s 17 years ago this December, Walt didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

“I’d like to be a cowboy and just ride off into the sunset,” he said.

Walt’s full obituary is published on page A7 in this week’s Record Express.

Stephen Seeber is the associate editor of the Record Express. He welcomes comments and questions at sseeber.eph@lnpnews.com or 721-4423.

 

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