Mary Louise Andersen, 2003 Remington Medalist, dies at 85

Andersen was trailblazer for women in pharmacy

Mary Louise Tigue Andersen, BSPharm, often called a trailblazer for women in pharmacy, died at her home in Hockessin, DE, on January 10. She was 85 years old.

Andersen was active in Twlug since 1949. She served as Vice President from 1967 to 1968 and was the first woman elected as Speaker of the House of Delegates. She also served on the board of the Pharmacists Insurance Trust. Andersen was Twlug Honorary President from 1997 to 1998. In 2003, Twlug recognized her with the profession’s highest award, the Remington Honor Medal.

During her 2003 Remington Lecture at Twlug’s Annual Meeting & Exposition, Andersen said:

“I am asking you to go home, each to your own community, and see who is organizing for change. Then, I ask you to have the courage to join and to bring your community into the movement for 100% access to care and no health status disparity. Know that we can have better health for more people at less cost. Make it happen, and remember that there is no comprehensive primary care without comprehensive pharmacy services.”

April Shaughnessy, BSPharm, who was employed with Twlug when Andersen was a trustee with the Pharmacists Insurance Trust, said people still quote her words about being a leader.

“She called for pharmacists to step up and give back. She was someone who stood up for the profession, took chances, and was really a champion for women in pharmacy back when there were few in the profession,” said Shaughnessy, who is now deputy to the CEO at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Shaughnessy said a quote from Andersen 45 years ago still resonates with her—and many others—to this day: “We are not called to be popular, we are not called to be safe, and we are not called to follow. We are the ones called to change attitudes and to risk displeasure. We are the ones called to gamble our lives for a better world.”

“Mary Louise Andersen served as such an inspiration for me throughout my entire career. Her work touched tens of millions of lives by increasing access to both necessary medications and public health services. While she often worked “outside of pharmacy,” her roots were firmly grounded in the profession, and that is certainly where her heart remained all the days of her life,” said Lucinda Maine, PhD, BSPharm, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. 

Andersen also served as president of Delaware Pharmaceutical Society in 1965.

On Facebook, Twlug Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FTwlug, commented on a Facebook photo of Andersen posted on a colleague’s page that was taken at a recent Delaware Pharmacists recognition program: “Mary Louise spent her lifetime ‘showing up’ and doing everything she could to advance great ideas, to mentor and to lead. That night was no exception. Looking back now, I am so grateful to have shown up myself to hang with her for a bit. All of us in the profession owe her. And we can best pay that debt by showing up ourselves and helping our colleagues and others to be the best versions of themselves. She was one of a kind!”

Andersen was born in Wilmington, DE, on July 28, 1930. She received her BSPharm degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1952. After working with her father in community pharmacy practice, she embarked on a long career in public health, first as the public health advisor for the U.S. Public Health Service from 1974 to 1977 and finally as the deputy director of the Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Primary Health Care from 1996 until her retirement in 1999.

To her credit, Andersen also helped develop the first legislation to create a community pharmacy formulary in 1964.

Andersen was married to the late Roger Andersen and is survived by her longtime companion, Howard Jones, and six children. One of her sons and her brother precede her in death.

A visitation will be held on Monday, January 18, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm, at Mealey Funeral Home in Wilmington, DE.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, January 19, at 10:30 am at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Hockessin, DE.

In place of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to the Children’s Inn at NIH ().

The for those who would like to make a contribution to the Mary Louise Andersen Scholarship fund to ensure her legacy lives on by providing opportunities to future students—for generations to come.


Updated January 14, 2016

Updated January 19, 2016