Pauline Montgomery

HUGHESVILLE – Not everyone has the opportunity to say they were the first to do something.

Today children rush to be line leaders so they can reach the playground or water fountain before anyone else, but not many people rush to be one of the first two women to serve on Hughesville Borough Council, the only female mayor in the borough of Hughesville or the first woman in Lycoming County to become a county commissioner.

Pauline Montgomery, of Hughesville, has accomplished all of these tasks … and the list continues.

“It’s just what I think I should be doing,” Montgomery said.

At 17, she was one of six female students enrolled in Temple University’s pharmacy program in a class of more than 100 people.

“In 1946, 90 percent of the class was veterans taking advantage of the GI bill,” Montgomery said. “They treated us (the women in the class) like little sisters.”

Montgomery graduated and, by the end of the summer, had found a job at Rand’s, a chain store in Williamsport. She married, became pregnant with her first child and left the store.

“Back then you didn’t work when you were pregnant,” she said.

Shortly after leaving Rand’s, the wife of a local mom-and-pop pharmacy called Montgmery. The woman’s husband had had a heart attack and needed someone who could help out at the pharmacy.

Montgomery worked at the store for three years and had three children by the time the store was sold. She then gained employment at Harters’ Drug Store across the street and remained there until she opened Montgomery’s Pharmacy in 1959.

To this day, you can find Montgomery working in her pharmacy, which since has relocated to T.J.’s Market, 41 N. Railroad St.

“We’ve been here eight years this past September,” Montgomery said.

When she isn’t at a convention, or speaking to graduating pharmacists at Wilkes University about getting involved in their communities, Montgomery can be seen working in her pharmacy or up at the supermarket registers.

“I’ve led a wonderful life and I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of things,” she said. “I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made and my family for supporting me.”

What’s her secret?

“Pick a profession you like and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” Montgomery said.

“I dont want to retire,” she added. “I hope I never do.”

Other accomplishments:

Serves as the State Board of Pharmacy’s officer for probable cause screening committee.

Serves on the board of Value Drug, a wholesale drug company in Altoona.

First female president of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association.

First Pennsylvania woman awarded the Bowl of Hygeia Award.

Honored with the National Community Pharmacists Association’s Distinguished American Award.

Served 34 years on the Hughesville Area Public Library Board of Trustees.

Served on the Board of Pharmacy of the Commonwealth for 19 years.

Named one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Top Businesswomen.

Issued a proclamation recognizing a Pauline R. Montgomery Day in Hughesville.

Received an honorary doctorate degree from Wilkes University in May.