Mickey Ginsburg takes a break from work at the Old Pueblo Pharmacy in Sonoita. Photo by Pat McNamara

Musician, horseman, pharmacist and the oldest working pharmacy owner in Arizona, Myron (Mickey) Ginsburg, at 88, is still working at his drug store in Sonoita. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1931, he moved to Tucson in 1941 with his family. 

Music entered Ginsburg’s life early when he was just five as he was asthmatic and not able to be as physically active as his peers. He studied violin and continued playing into his adult years as a member of the University of Arizona Symphony and later played in the Southern Arizona Symphony. To this day, Ginsburg laments that perhaps a career as a musician would have been a good choice for him.

Ginsburg was also active in the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout badge in 1945. Four years later he became a scout master. The Arizona National Guard then claimed him, where he served from 1948 to 1951 while attending the University of Arizona studying pharmaceutical science. As a student he was a member of Kappa Psi Honorary Fraternity and the Tri Delta Phi Fraternity. 

He graduated with his degree in 1952 and joined his pharmacist father at their Tucson drug store. When the polio epidemic was prevalent in the U.S., Ginsburg was one of the early, ground breaking participants in dispensing the vaccine on sugar cubes to the locals in Tucson. 

After the death of his father in 1969, Ginsburg took over the business until finally selling it in 1977. From there, he worked for a number of years at a pharmacy chain before opening Old Pueblo Pharmacy in Sonoita in 1999.

Ginsburg’s other passion along with his music, is horses. Specifically race horses. His mother told the story that when he was just two years old, she took him to a circus in Ohio where he slipped away from her. She finally found him on the back of one of the circus performer’s horses, having persuaded the owner to let him ride.

Having had his own horse as a child in Tucson, Ginsburg retained his love of horses his whole life. In 1957 a friend of Ginsburg owned a racehorse and needed a partner to help with the training and expenses and that started Ginsburg on his road to training racehorses in Tucson and Elgin. At his Elgin Farm Racing Stables, Ginsburg has successfully raised and trained thoroughbreds and quarter horses for the track and still owns five horses, actively preparing them for their future. Ginsburg related that the feeling of coming down the homestretch at 40 miles an hour is like flying, though it’s been a while since he has done that.

Ginsburg and his wife Betty Lou raised five children. She came into the union with one son and they added four more children to the family throughout the years. Though he and Betty Lou are no longer together, Ginsburg still sees his children, now with nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren as they live nearby in the Tucson area. His eldest son is a pharmacist, carrying on the tradition passed from his father and grandfather. 

Sonoita is fortunate to have Mickey Ginsburg, both as a business owner serving the community and a dispenser of many stories of past adventures in his years as a horseman, a musician and a long-time Arizona resident.