By Robert Lucke
John Compton will be missed. After 33 years of working for Don Vaupel and the Western Drug, the congenial druggist is moving to Billings. June 30th was his last day at the downtown Atrium drug store.
A Havre native, John Compton graduated from Havre High School in 1966, and went to work for Don Vaupel part-time as a delivery and stock boy.
Encouraged to become a druggist, John went to Northern Montana College for two years, still working for Vaupel as much as he could.
Later, he attended the University of Montana at Missoula, graduating with a pharmacy degree in June of 1971. He married his wife, Nila, that same spring and came back to Havre to work once again for Vaupel when his drug store was in the Masonic Temple building.
The Comptons have two children, James and Marca.
In 1982, Compton oversaw the Western Drug move into the old Buttrey Food location in what is now the Atrium west addition. Compton has been the manager of the Western Drug ever since.
Compton may be moving to Billings but he isnt about to lose his Havre roots.
You know my kids both graduated from Havre High School, Compton stated. Our blood is Blue Pony-blue. Our roots go deep.
The move to Billings was a difficult choice for the Comptons.
The Lord wanted us to move on. It is hard to describe, said Compton. Our daughter is heavy into Rocky Mountain College sports and our son just graduated from the Naval Academy so being close to a large airport is important.
Compton has purchased a house in Billings and will go to work at the Walmart Pharmacy.
No question, they will miss a host of Havre friends.
Well see you all from time to time but Ill especially miss my Community Alliance Church family, Compton added. And what Ill miss the most are the people around here. The wonderful group of folks. Now I am taking care of my friends parents. They still think of me as Johnny Compton. And I take care of some of my elementary teachers. That is a joy!
Others in Comptons life will be especially hard to say good-bye to.
I want to tell you how wonderful Don Vaupel has been. He has been like a dad to me. And Wells Lamey, working with him all these years, Compton said with a sigh. They are so special.
What a pleasure it is to grow up in a wonderful community like this, Compton went on to say. I know the people and we were able to raise our kids in a wonderful school system.
And the list goes on.
You know Ive got a little coffee group. All bald headed like Murray Barkus and Bud Baldwin. I am going to miss that group. The B.S. flowed pretty deep at times, said Compton with a laugh.
And a special tribute for the Western Drug workers.
My staff the girls who have worked for me all these years and worked extra days when they were needed. I really appreciate all of them, Compton exclaimed.
One thing John Compton wanted to make clear.
This is not good-bye. It is so long for now. Well see you around, said John Compton.