Skip to content

Noel Dicks Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

DICKS RECOGNIZED. Noel Dicks received the Lifetime Pharmacy Service Award at the annual Illinois Pharmacists Association conference. Pictured is IPhA Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Mickie Brunner, Iris Dicks, and Bruce Wood.

Earlier this fall the Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA) came together for four days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Springfield, Illinois, for its Annual Conference.

Receiving the Lifetime Pharmacy Service Award was Noel Dicks, former owner of Dicks Pharmacy. This award was established to honor pharmacists in all practice settings who have, through example, integrity, and longevity, served as role models for those in the profession of pharmacy.

Bruce Wood of Tuscola and a former owner of Dicks Pharmacy submitted the following letter of nomination outlining why Noel should receive this prestigious award:


I am submitting the name of Noel C. Dicks to the committee for consideration for the Lifetime Achievement Award for the many and various achievements that he made in his life and how those had a direct effect on pharmacy and on his hometown and his home.

Below is an excerpt from the Grand Lodge of Illinois 2007, and parts of this were used in writing Noels obituary. The following was written by Noel.

Noel Charles Dicks, was born on September 27, 1929, at Broadlands, Illinois, the son of Kenneth and Mary Logan Dicks. He attended public schools in Broadlands and Arthur, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in May 1952.

In November 1952 he entered the United States Army being trained as a combat engineer. In March 1953, he was transferred to Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas as a pharmacist remaining there until his discharge from active duty in November of 1954. At this time he accepted employment as a Registered Pharmacist in a retail pharmacy in Decatur, Illinois.

On September 22, 1957, Noel was united in marriage with Iris Jeanne Lape of rural St. Peter, Illinois. She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and was teaching Home Economics in Mowequa, Illinois at the time. They were residents of Decatur, Illinois until January 1960 when Noel purchased an existing pharmacy in Arthur, Illinois. He was the sole owner of Dicks Pharmacy until he retired in 1995. Iris and Noel have been very active in the Arthur United Methodist Church as well as all school and community organizations and activities of Arthur. They have two sons, Bruce and Mark, and are grandparents of Emily, Sam, Michelle and Jack.

The Masonic life of Brother Dicks began on March 9, 1955, when he was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in Arthur Lodge 825 by a slate of officers composed entirely of Grand Lecturers, including his Father and uncle Carl. He served Arthur Lodge No. 825 as Worshipful Master in 1959 and in 1993. He has also served the lodge as Secretary and Treasurer.

Brother Dicks was commissioned as a Grand Lecturer in 1984. As his Masonic journey continued, he served the fraternity as a Grand Lodge Instructor, Secretary of the Board of Managers of the Illinois Masonic Home, Grand Master o the Illini District Grand Lodge, Assistant Eastern Area Deputy Grand Master, Chairman and Secretary of the Board of Grand Examiners. In October of 2000 Brother Dicks was elected as Junior Grand Warden and advanced through the Grand Lodge line of officers being elected as Grand Master of Masons of Illinois in October 2005 and re-elected in October 2006.

He is a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Bodies of the Valley of Danville, Illinois. He was Chairman of the Ancient Craft Degree Team for ten years and served as Commander-in-Chief of Danville Consistory and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Valley of Danville in 2000 – 2001. He received the Honorary 33degree in 1991. He is a member of the York Rite Bodies of Decatur Chapter No. 16, Macon Chapter No. 21 and Beaumanoir Commandery No. 9 all of Decatur, Illinois.
He belongs to East Central York Rite College No. 16 and was the recipient of the Honorary Purple Cross in 2005. He is a member of Little Egypt Council No. 400 Allied Masonic Degrees, and the Illinois College of Masonica Societas Rosicrucianna. He belongs to St. Edward Conclave Red Cross of Constantine of Springfield, Illinois, currently serving as Puissant Sovereign.

Brother Dicks holds regular membership in ANSAR Shrine Center of Springfield, Illinois and is an honorary member of Mohammed and Ainad Shrine Centers. He is a member of Crystal Chapter No. 39 Order of Easter Star of Sullivan, Illinois. He is a recipient of the Honorary DeMolay Legion of Honor and a Member of Job’s Daughter Bethel No. 49 of Decatur, Illinois.

He is a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, Iowa Research Lodge No. 2 and Southern California Lodge of Research. Honorary Memberships include High Twelve International, The Grand Lodge of Tennessee as well as several Illinois lodges.

Most Worshipful Brother Dicks completed his term as Grand Master of Illinois on October 6, 2007.

As it says above Noel served his community and his church over the years. He served as treasurer for a number of groups in Arthur including the Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the Arthur Merchants Committee for a number of years. Arthur is now envied around the area as a small town with so much going for it. It is my belief that this is no accident. The merchants of Arthur have worked together to promote drive the community economically and drove tourism with the help of their Amish neighbors. Noel was one of those merchants who established with hard work a good business community that was the backbone of the success going forward with Arthur.

I contacted Terry Clark, who worked on community projects for years with Noel before I started working there and asked about Noel’s contribution to the chamber. Here is his response. “Probably the most important part of Noel’s involvement with regard to the Merchant’s Committee was that he was really the glue that held it together in the early stages. He was one of the founding fathers and was almost single-handed in controlling the accountability of the treasury. It was a handful of men that exchanged ideas for events and activities for the marketing of the business community of Arthur. The fore runner of what was destined to become the most active community in central Illinois and the envy of all of the surrounding communities.”
Noel made it plain to me before I bought the store that hard work was important to the success of the business and of working with the other businesses in Arthur. Noel also made it clear that I needed to be involved with the chamber and merchants committee and he was very much right. Working with those groups solidified my acceptance into Arthur, from the business owners to the citizens in the community.

Noel was quite proud of Arthur and with so many good reasons. He had served on numerous community boards over the years that helped to make Arthur what it became. He was the treasurer when the Methodist Church wanted a new sanctuary built and for the Arthur Masonic Lodge when they were building a new lodge building. He served as a volunteer at several of the local festivals over the years and at the fairground as a ticket taker in the evenings and helped the Arthur Womens Club with the hot food stand they had at the fair each year flipping hamburgers after he had worked 10 hours at the pharmacy…..that day and every day, since it was open 8 to 6 for 5 days a week and 8 to 530 on Saturdays and open til noon for sometime on Sundays. Noel also wrote a poem for the Moultrie Douglas County fair that was published each year in the fair-book.

Come to the Moultrie-Douglas County Fair
Your friends and neighbors will all be there
The rides will be wild and the games will be fun
There will be some kind of enjoyment for everyone

The well groomed animals in stalls side by side
Shown by their owners with the greatest of pride
The tractor pull will be noisy but truly a sight
And the horse show is always such a delight

You can view the exhibits both night and day
And browse through the arts and crafts on display
The food and the drinks stands will always be there
With a long list of goodies for you to share

So come to Arthur……..real pleasure to seek
The fun and excitement will go on for a week
Come to the Moultrie-Douglas County Fair
Your friends and neighbors will all be there.

Noel purchased Grantham Drugs in 1960 from Carl Grantham, a local pharmacist who moved the drugstore and soda fountain from Kincaid, Illinois several years earlier after a gunshot rang through the front window one day during the coal mine wars in that area. Noel remodeled the store and renamed it Dicks Pharmacy. The business grew with Noel at the helm and he worked hard at preserving it and helping it grow until he retired in 1995 and sold the business to me. In 1990, I was working at The Pharmacy in Tuscola for Fred Moody, when Noel contacted me about working a Saturday for him, so that he could attend a Masonic Lodge event. Shortly after that he talked to me about buying the store from him after working for him for a few years. It was my dream job, since I had been familiar with the store since I was a kid, more so from the soda fountain than the prescription department. I went to work for Noel on January 2, 1991, and he guided me on several idiosyncrasies of the store and Arthur. For one thing the prescription department was set up in manufacturers and not in alphabetical order. This was more of a challenge to new or fill in pharmacists since I had worked in a similar pharmacy in Pana. But he often offered advice on how to deal with some difficult customers and of course with the PBM’s. Noel wanted me to succeed, for myself and for the town.

When the Arthur Community Building was built, there was a long wall on the north side that was vacant. Noel worked with the local VFW and printed photos of all Arthur area veterans starting with the Civil War. This and other military and VFW related items were put on permanent displays. A book listing the servicemen, their location on the board and a brief history about each is also at the Community Building. I spoke with Bill Crane who along with Noel put this display together for all to enjoy. Bill acknowledges all the work that Noel did on this massive project, noting each put in equal time and effort. It lists over 1300 who served this country who are from Arthur and there are photos for most and a short historical blurb about them as well. Bill stated that Noel was the historian for this project and for the town, “Noel knew the details about the servicemen that made this project different than others.” This project also has an online version that is updated constantly with new servicemen from Arthur. It is quite extensive for such a small town. For example, during WWII, the population of Arthur was about 1400. The number of servicemen from Arthur was over 600, that did not leave many men left in town, mostly older people, children, and women. Also on the list are 51 Civil War Veterans, 14 of whom there is a picture for. Those pictures came from a photo that Noel had of a gathering of the Civil War veterans that Noel was able to put names with faces. The website for this is The site can also be accessed from the Douglas County website or from the Village of Arthur website.

Below is an excerpt taken from the internet from the Illinois Highlights Page. At one point in time, Googling Noel’s name would connect you to the picture collection that he had done for the history of Arthur.

Photo collection. JULY 13, 2021 BY ANNA WONDRASEK

Arthur, Once Upon a Time

For the month of July, we at the IDHH are highlighting one of our first collections ingested back in July of 2016. The Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection from the Arthur Public Library depicts daily life in Arthur, Illinois from the early to mid 1900s.

First settled in 1850, Arthur now has a population of around 2,500, and is home to the largest Amish settlement in Illinois, with around 4,000 Amish people living in the area.

“With nearly 500 images to explore, the Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection offers a glimpse into Arthur of the past. Though it was originally started by Mr. Noel C. Dicks, a local pharmacist and owner of Dicks Pharmacy, who started gathering photographs of pharmacists and physicians who practiced in the town, contributions from local people have expanded the collection to encompass an entire spectrum of Arthur experiences from the paving of Vine Street to images of local businesses”.

While working at the store one day I recall that Ernie Bartholomew came into the pharmacy carrying a box full of glass negatives from the Eberhardt house that were going to be thrown away. Noel and Ernie also went to the auction to secure more of the negatives that had been misdirected into the auction. Eberhardt was a local photographer from the early 1900s. He had 2 daughters that never married and lived in the home place until their deaths, seventy five years later. Eberhardt’s collection of negatives was in the house. Noel learned how to develop the glass negatives into photos and did that with all those negatives in a dark room he set up in his basement. Some quite remarkable photos and history saved by the work of Ernie and Noel and are available to anyone wishing to view them online. Noel also was able to get the collection from another local photographer, Hovermale. In addition he was able to get photos from Charles Dillon that were taken in the 50s and from Fleener, who took pictures during the Arthur Centennial (1972). I asked Noel to print off some of the photos into 4×6 prints and hung them in the store. Those old photos generated a lot of interest from the local citizens as well as tourists who came into the store for the soda fountain. He also published many of these pictures into a coffee table book, that was quite popular in Arthur. The name of the book was Arthur, Once Upon a Time.

In 2015 he authored a book called, “Walking the Path Again”. It was the life and times of Noel C. Dicks. It not only was a book about Noel, but about life in Arthur and Broadlands as well from his perspective. It also was revealing about Noel’s life, character his ability to tell a story and his humor.

He also developed the Connecting the Dots book for the village of Arthur. A very handy book for the Arthur Welcome Center, which Noel and I also volunteered. For his work on this book and his dedication to Arthur tourism as a volunteer at the welcome center, Noel was honored by the Champaign County Tourism in 2017 with the Tourism Impact Award.

Noel also printed pictures for the Macon County Historical Society. From his work they published 3 books. He was paid modestly for his work doing this, but again he was able to help preserve history and use his new talents in the dark room.

When I wanted to turn his downtown office house into the Arthur Pumpkin House, Noel was intrigued and believed me enough to allow me to continue with the project and despite not seeing totally my vision. He was very supportive in encouraging me to go ahead with the project. This was just one example of how Noel offered me encouragement to be involved with the village of Arthur and its people. The Arthur Pumpkin House is an assembly of 200 lit pumpkins that are carved by school children and local citizens and it is still a feature in downtown Arthur from October 24 to 31.

Noel was known to the Arthur community and most of Douglas and Moultrie counties as a pharmacist even after he retired. His dedication to the profession was apparent while he practiced while I knew him in Arthur. He was a longtime member of IPHA and encouraged me to continue my membership and try to get involved. He understood the challenges that pharmacy has today, and he saw those challenges ahead and decided in 1990 when he asked me to come work for him, that those challenges were for someone younger, just as I see those same barriers today as challenges for again someone younger. We fought the battle while we could, now we will help you all fight it, but can not lead the charge.

I hope you will seriously consider Noel for the Lifetime Achievement Award. I know he was an accomplished, dedicated, and respected Pharmacist and a community leader for his town of Arthur. His accomplishments were numerous and more than I have listed here. In my years prior to owning the store, I worked for several pharmacists. Two names stick out in my mind as ones that I will always respect, call my friend and feel like I learned more from than all the rest. One is Harold Endris of Pana and the other is Noel Dicks. Both welcomed me into their business, their communities, and their families.

The plaque was accepted by Iris Dicks at the President’s banquet and awards ceremony held Saturday evening.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on December 2, 2022 at 9:42 am

    I’m originally from Arthur area & enjoyed this article. I would like to view the photographs online. Please let me know how to see them.
    Millie Saxon

Leave a Comment