Pharmacy’s Crosswhite Retires after 39 Years
Ronnie Crosswhite recently relinquished his longstanding title of “oldest full-time pharmacist” when he hesitantly retired Nov. 14 after 39 years with North Mississippi Medical Center. But soon he will be able to take on a new title: “oldest part-time pharmacist.”
“I just love working with people and this organization,” Crosswhite says. “I’m just not ready to give it up completely yet.” In the meantime, he is enjoying time with his family—especially his grandchildren—since retiring from full-time employment.
Raised on a farm in the Una community of Clay County, Crosswhite graduated from West Point High School in 1972. He attended Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, and Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville each for one year before enrolling in pharmacy school. He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in Jackson in 1977 and, while working full time, earned his Pharm.D. from there in 2000.
While his wife Kathy was completing her studies at Mississippi State University, he worked for three years as manager of Starkville Discount Drugs. He then worked as assistant manager of Harco Drugs for three years before joining the NMMC staff in 1982. Crosswhite served as assistant director of Pharmacy at NMMC-Tupelo from 1985-2010, when he accepted a position at NMMC-West Point to be closer to his mother, who needed assistance.
In 2017, he moved his mother to Tupelo and transferred to Outpatient Infusion Services and Cancer Care in Tupelo and Starkville. Throughout most of his career, he continued to work part-time at area retail pharmacies.
Automation has been one highlight of Crosswhite’s career. “While I was assistant manager of Pharmacy, we acquired the robot and Pixis cabinets,” he recalls. “We also acquired the automated dispensing machine at the Employee Pharmacy, which the staff nicknamed ‘RJ,’ short for Ronnie Joe, because they said it was temperamental like me.”
Other highlights include “brown bag medicine reviews,” where area seniors would discuss their medications with a pharmacist, and traveling far and near to educate fellow pharmacists about helping their patients manage their medications.
He also fondly remembers serving on the board for the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy for five years, including stints as secretary, vice president and president. He also served a term as president of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
But perhaps the biggest highlight of his career was having all three children join him at NMMC. Oldest son Brad, who practices at IMA-Tupelo, has been a physician with NMMC since 2007. Daughter Megan Crosswhite Doxey has been a pharmacist with NMMC’s Outpatient Infusion Services since 2014, having worked there part-time as a technician while in pharmacy school. Youngest son Tyler will complete his residency at NMMC’s Family Medicine Residency Center in June 2022.
“All three kids have never known anything else other than NMMC,” Crosswhite says. “I guess somewhere along the way, they saw how blessed I was to work in a family environment that could have such a positive impact on our community and see how family and friends are helped daily by our system.”
Now that he is retired, you might find Crosswhite bush hogging on his tractor or taking a grandchild to school. “I haven’t had a free day yet,” he says, and that’s just fine with him. He loves being “Big Daddy” to Emily, Hunter and Madelyn (Brad and Angie’s children), and Harper (daughter of Megan and her late husband, Ralph), and looks forward to welcoming Tyler and Maryn’s son Jenson in December.
He finally has to tackle honey-do projects that he’s managed to put off until now. “When Kathy would ask me to do something, I would always say, ‘honey I’ll do that when I retire,’” he says. “Now I have a list of projects that I never wanted to do.” He also hopes to do more hunting and fishing.
While he can’t imagine a better career than his, Crosswhite admits semi-retirement sounds nice. “I have been so blessed working here,” he says. “I just pray NMMC will bless my kids as it has done me and my family over the years.”