Walgreens' longtime EVP store operations Glenn Kraiss, 79, passes away

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Glenn Kraiss, retired EVP store operations for Walgreens, died Jan. 18 at age 79. His career with Walgreens spanned 50 years to his retirement in 1999.  

“Glenn was instrumental to Walgreens' success during a period of terrific growth for the company," stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. "During his 50-year career, he was a friend to coworkers around the country, a true leader for our store operations division and a mentor to more Walgreens folks than he may have realized.”

Kraiss began his Walgreens career working the soda fountain in a Chicago store in 1949 while still in high school. He worked his way through college and then pharmacy school, rising through the ranks of Walgreens in a series of promotions, including store manager, district manager and regional VP.

From 1978 until his retirement, Kraiss had responsibility for all of Walgreens drug store operations. Over that 21-year span, the chain nearly quadrupled in store count and grew from sales volume of just over $1 billion to $15 billion in fiscal 1998.

Kraiss was a 1956 graduate of the University of Illinois pharmacy school. In 1998, he was 1-of-4 recipients of the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award — the highest award given by the alumni association.

In speaking of Kraiss, Charles Walgreen III, retired chairman of Walgreens, recalled appointing him in 1978 to fill the position of leading the store operations division. Walgreen said, “Glenn was an outstanding executive, and key to the company’s turnaround and success.” 

Kraiss was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary. He is survived by his second wife, Joyce, and four children. 

A funeral service will be held for Kraiss Jan. 23 at 3 p.m. local time at Scottsdale Bible Chapel at 7601 East Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, Ariz.  

There will also be a funeral service on Jan. 26, at Calvary Church Chapel, 9200 St. Rt. 59, Naperville, Ill. That service will be held at 1 p.m. local time.

For those who would like to make a donation in Kraiss' honor in lieu of flowers, please consider the following: