In Memoriam: Frank DeWight Titus III

Longtime Board of Councilors member Frank DeWight Titus III, PharmD ’58, died in May at age 88. He came from a long line of Trojans and pharmacists, one of seven relatives to graduate from USC.

Titus was exposed to the profession at an early age and developed an instant affinity. When the time came, his decision to attend pharmacy school at USC was not a difficult one. “A pharmacy career was my birthright,” he said. “As a student, I enjoyed being part of the transition from compounding to contemporary pharmacy practice.”

Titus and his sister Susie Titus made a substantial gift in 2004 to name the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the school. At the time of the gift, he said: “Our family would not have achieved the same degree of success without the USC School of Pharmacy. With this gift, we are honoring our family and the satisfaction they had with their pharmacy careers.”

Titus began working in the family pharmacy business, F.D. Titus & Son, in 1958. After a post-graduate service in the military, he helped the family open two additional California pharmacies, in Santa Ana and Compton. In 1971, Titus left his position at the Santa Ana location to focus solely on the medical/surgical supply part of the company, influencing countless other local and regional distributors for decades.

“I enjoyed the sales aspect of the business,” he said. “We supplied nursing homes and physician groups with everything from bandages to exam tables to sophisticated surgical equipment. By the time we sold the company to General Medical, it was one of the largest physician supply companies of its kind.”

Titus joined General Medical as vice chair, executive vice president and a director, retiring in 1997 when the company was acquired by McKesson Corp. He also served as chairman of the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) and its Education Foundation, and is credited with creating the annual HIDA Executive Conference. He was inducted into the HIDA Hall of Fame in 2021 and earned HIDA’s John F. Sasen Award in 1986 when it was called the Industry Award of Distinction, the organization’s highest honor.

“Over my career, I came to realize how valuable a PharmD degree is to individuals pursuing a career in healthcare,” he said. “I was exposed to so many avenues within the profession. My goal is for students today to explore the opportunities available to them, particularly in management positions.”