Metro-East News

Mascoutah is celebrating life of Drug Store Cowboy, who ‘treated his customers like family’

Bob Dauber and his wife, Dolores, in 2014
Bob Dauber and his wife, Dolores, in 2014 Provided photo/Dauber family

Bob Dauber didn’t want a funeral when he died.

Instead, the​​ fourth-​​generation owner​ ​of Mascoutah’s​ ​Dauber​​ Pharmacy asked his family to put on a casual get together with​ ​brats,​ ​beer ​and​​ ​lots ​​of​ ​purple — in honor​ ​of​​ the Mascoutah ​Indians.​​

On Nov. 11, that’s exactly what the 88-year-old man’s family will do — gather to celebrate his life, which ended Monday.

The gathering will run from 3​ ​ to​ ​7​ ​p.m.​ ​at​​ ​the ​​American ​ Legion​ ​ ​Post​ ​292, 1414​ ​West​ ​Main​ ​St. in ​Mascoutah.

“Please​ ​stop​ ​by​ and,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​can,​ ​wear​ ​​Mascoutah purple​ ​and​ ​a​ ​big​ ​smile.​ ​Bring​ ​some​ ​good​ ​stories​ ​— ​and​ don’t​​ ​forget​ ​your​ ​cowbell,” his obituary reads, remembering the times Dauber was reprimanded for​ his​ loud​ ​cowbell​ at ​Mascoutah​​ High​ School​​ football​​ ​games​ as​​ ​an​ adult.


Bob’s son Rob Dauber added that his father instilled in them a sense of how important being a good neighbor was. Bob would open up the pharmacy — and in some cases delivery a prescription — on holidays when someone became ill. He also let people pay for their prescriptions any way they could — whether that was with money or a stack of lumber.

“He knew he had been blessed with a good life and he wanted to make sure others less fortunate could get by,” Rob said.

Rob said his dad was known as the “Drug Store Cowboy” after he tried on his first pair of boots.

“Once he got his first pair, he lived in cowboy boots,” Rob said. “He lived in them — everywhere he went. Once CB radios came around, his handle was the ‘Drug Store Cowboy.’ That is a nickname people definitely know him by.”

Dauber served in the army during the ​Korean Conflict before earning degrees​ ​from​ ​the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​Missouri​ ​and​ ​St.​ ​Louis​ ​College ​​of Pharmacy and taking over as owner of Dauber​​ Pharmacy,​ ​which​​ was​​ ​founded in​ ​Mascoutah​ ​in​ ​1853.​

Bob Dauber throws out the first pitch at Busch Stadium. Provided photo/Dauber family

His daughter, Ellen​ ​Dauber, said her father was a man who taught his kids integrity and was always his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s biggest cheerleader at sporting events.

For years, she said, he painted the sidewalks in front of his pharmacy purple in support of the Mascoutah Indians.

"We all went up there the night of his death and painted the sidewalks purple," she said, noting the pharmacy was sold after Bob retired.

Ellen said her father struggled with his health for several years — recovering from whatever ailment presented itself and keeping a “great attitude” through it all.

“The​ ​pharmacy ​was​ ​always​​ like ​home​ to​ ​Bob,” his obituary reads. “His​ ​family​ ​lived​ ​above​ the store​ during​​ ​his​ ​childhood,​ and​​ as​​ an​ ​adult​ ​​his ​employees​ also​ ​became​ ​​like ​family —​ even​ spending ​Christmases​ together​ ​for​ ​many​ ​years.​ ​Bob​ treated​ ​his​ customers​​ like​ ​family,​ too,​ opening​ ​his​ ​drugstore​ ​at​ ​all​ ​hours​ ​of​ ​the​ ​night​ ​and​ ​on​ ​holidays​ ​to​ ​get​ ​medicine​ ​for​ ​people​ ​in need. ​ He​ ​would​ ​​tell ​his​ children​​ ‘helping​ ​​people​ ​is ​​my​ job​​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​good​ ​neighbors ​​do.’”

Dauber was married to Dolores Dauber for almost 60 years and together they had five children, Amy (Steve) Novario of Ottawa, Ill.; Ellen Dauber of Belleville; Rob (Jase Woodruff) Dauber of New York, N.Y.; C.J. Dauber of Mascoutah; and David (Shannon) Dauber of Mascoutah.

“He was a good man,” Dolores said on Wednesday.

Dauber retired​ ​in​ ​2011,​ and he began the​ ​Foundation​ ​for​ ​Mascoutah​ ​Schools​. The foundation​ ​annually ​​awards the​ Bob ​​Dauber​ ​Scholarship​ ​to​ ​a​ ​graduating​ ​senior.​

​For those who wish to make a donation in Dauber’s​​ ​honor, his family​ ​​suggests​ ​giving​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Foundation​ ​for​ ​Mascoutah​ ​Schools at 414​ ​Jackson​ ​St. in​ ​Mascoutah or ​the ​Mascoutah​ ​Food​ ​Pantry,​ at 17 W.​ ​Main​ ​St., in​ Mascoutah.