Chris Vines started pursuing his passion for pharmacy at a young age by working in the local drug store in his hometown of Erick, Oklahoma and later at Eton Drug in Weatherford, Oklahoma while attending pharmacy school there. He married his hometown sweetheart, Helen Ann Johnson, in 1954 and upon graduating with a B.S. in Pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1956, he and Helen moved to Perryton, Texas. Initially, they expected to only live in Perryton for a few months to work temporarily for Charlie Pyles at Corner Drug & Jewelry, as Chris knew he would soon be deployed into the reserves in San Antonio. About a year later, Chris was sent to Camp Bullis in San Antonio while Helen stayed in Perryton with friends. As fate would have it, Helen soon learned she was pregnant with their firstborn, and he was subsequently allowed to return home early. Although they didn’t originally expect to make Perryton their permanent home, they found it very welcoming and rewarding throughout their lives in this wonderful community.
Through the ensuing years, Chris and Helen became owners and operators of not only Corner Drug & Jewelry and Gibson’s Discount Pharmacy in Perryton, but also several other apothecary type pharmacies in Booker, Texas, and in Guymon and Woodward, Oklahoma, totaling 13 in all. Helen not only worked in the flagship Corner Drug & Jewelry store, but also was the buyer at market for their growing gift and jewelry side of the business. She was actively involved in many business and community organizations throughout the years to further promote their business and to support mutual economic opportunities throughout the local area.
Additionally, Chris began an adjunctive career in 1962 with S&H Green Stamps Company. He helped organize and implement Independent Druggist Distributors in which he served the group as President to sell and distribute S&H Green Stamps to drug stores, grocery stores and gas stations throughout a multi-state area. Every week, he balanced his career between his pharmacy responsibilities and flying his plane to work with his S&H Green Stamp clients. Subsequently, Chris became national sales manager for S&H Green Stamps to further develop and strategically guide the national sales force. Chris enjoyed his affiliation with this Company for over 45 years.
Throughout his career, Chris was actively involved in supporting the pharmacy profession through his involvement in associations as well as mentoring students and pharmacists. In 1986, he was the first recipient of a new, national award given by Merck & Co., Inc. The Pharmacist Achievement Award honored his 30 years in the pharmacy business and recognized his local and national contributions to the profession. Chris and Helen were active members of the West Texas Pharmaceutical Association, greatly enjoying the camaraderie and lifelong friendships that were fostered. Chris served WTPA in many capacities including President, and Helen was active in the wives’ organization. As a member of Texas Pharmaceutical Association, Chris served on the Texas Pharmacists Insurance Committee and House of Delegates, among other responsibilities. One of his passions and accomplishments was to help develop and establish the new Texas Tech pharmacy school based in Amarillo, Texas. He loved to mentor and encourage pharmacy students and assisted many with obtaining financial support. Chris was awarded the WTPA Heritage Award in 2017.
Locally, Chris and Helen each served as members and directors on the Perryton-Ochiltree Chamber of Commerce, with Helen serving a term as President as well. She was honored with the Chamber’s distinguished Citizen of the Year Award in 1999. She was also the recipient of the Panhandle Area Golden Nail Award. Also, Helen served as President of the Pharmacy Wives Club, Jennie Junes Club and Newcomers Club. She loved to entertain and sing, including traveling with the Booker Bank Notes Chorus and playing roles in many plays and melodramas. In 2001, she was crowned Ms Senior Texas, earning her the opportunity to compete in the national pageant in Las Vegas, where she achieved a lifelong dream of singing on a Las Vegas stage. Helen finished in the top 15 contestants out of 47 entered. Chris actively served on the Ochiltree County Industrial Foundation, Southwest Cattleman’s Credit Corporation and other various boards. He was a Mason and Shriner. Chris was involved in various oil field related ventures, became a licensed securities broker, worked in the financial services industry and was a GIA certified gemologist. He loved flying his private airplane and playing golf with his friends and family.
Of utmost importance to Chris and Helen were their family, daughters Melodee and Lisa, and grandchildren Camron, Collin, Sheridan and Colby. They were a loving, gracious and caring couple who left an incredible legacy for us to remember and to carry forward.
Through the perpetual endowment of this scholarship in honor of our beloved parents, we, Melodee and Lisa, are happy to provide monetary support in pursuit of one’s pharmacy career and personal success.