Everett pharmacist Robert Covert remembered for his dedication

FREELAND — When Robert Covert owned a drug store in Everett, he was on a first-name basis with most customers. A former neighbor said Covert even delivered prescriptions on his way home from the store in his Volkswagen Beetle.

“He was always kind and had the patients best interest at heart,” said Dr. James Hill. “He was honest about giving them his best opinion, even if it might not benefit his financial interests.”

Returning to Everett after serving with the Air Force, Covert joined his father at Lloyd’s Riverside Pharmacy. He owned Covert’s Pharmacy on the corner of Hoyt and Pacific avenues, and later managed Medical Art’s Pharmacy at 3202 Colby Ave.

The pharmacist’s medicine helped cure Leslie Steenfott’s spinal meningitis some 25 years ago.

“As I look back on it now, what stands out to me is the trust that I put in his knowledge and skills in his craft,” Steenfott said. “There was no doubting anything that he ever said or did because he had such integrity and moral standing.”

Robert Raymond Covert was born in Everett on July 1, 1932, to Lloyd and Doris Covert. He died in Freeland on Whidbey Island on Dec. 4 from a rare form of lung cancer.

A 1950 graduate of Everett High School, he attended the University of Washington before becoming a pilot with the 44th Armament &Electronics Squadron of the 44th Bomb Wing of Strategic Air Command.

He married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Linore Bayne, in 1951. They raised three children, Calen, Alison and Kerry Ann.

Kerry Graham said her mother and her father were the 1950 Everett High School homecoming king and queen and he was student body president. Joyce Covert died suddenly of a stroke at age 53. She had worked with her husband at the pharmacy and they made their home at 3301 Grand Ave.

“The two of them went through a bit of hell,” Graham said. “My sister was born with brain damage and my brother had bone cancer at 13 years old and had to have his leg amputated.”

Through it all, the couple found happiness where they could, in particular, a beach cabin on Whidbey Island.

“They created a fantasy life for us, big house in the city and beach house on a beautiful island,” Graham said. “The cabin was my mother’s favorite place. She took her last breath there.”

The Covert family often spent time with Ron and Aileen Goetz and their family, celebrating birthdays and supporting one another as both families cared for children with special needs.

Years after Ron Goetz’s death in 1981, Aileen and Robert Covert married and enjoyed 20 years together.

The couple moved to Whidbey Island in 2003.

“He worked hard for 40 years,” she said. “He retired when arthritis in his ankle was too painful.”

They enjoyed traveling, by car, plane and motor home, but found Whidbey was the most beautiful place, Aileen Covert said.

Never fussy about food, her husband would help cook, with a glass of beer in his hand. He read fiction and nonfiction and watched little TV.

“Bob always felt he hadn’t accomplished anything to leave behind when he died, so he bought tools and saws and began puttering in his garage,” Aileen Covert said. “He couldn’t build anything more lasting than the legacies, the trust, the friendships he had with everyone he touched throughout his life.”

Robert Covert was charming, with a down-to-earth sense of humor, said friend J. Brian Dwyer.

“I would describe him as a cross between Cary Grant and Walter Matthau,” Dwyer said. “He was able to find something to like about just about anyone.”

A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Jan. 13 at Knights of Columbus Hall, 2913 W. Marine View Drive, Everett.

Reporter Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or oharran@heraldnet.com.

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