In Memoriam: Dr. John J. Sciarra


Dr. John J. Sciarra was a long time editor and contributor for Pharmacy Times during the 1980s and 1990s.

You know you had a full life when you were raised during the Great Depression, were drafted directly out of high school for WW2, went to college, became a professor, built a highly successful consulting company, became a world renowned expert, married the perfect woman, helped raise four sons, started your own research and development company at the age of 63, was a brother to three sisters, uncle to countless nieces and nephews, and grandfather five times over.

On Friday, April 17, 2020 Dr. John J. Sciarra passed away at the age of 92.

John was born on December 28, 1927 in Brooklyn to Anthony and Jennie (Ferreri) Sciarra. He served as a Corporal in the United States Army from 1946-1947. Post his honorable discharge from the army, he received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from St. John's University in 1951. He received his Master of Science in Pharmacy from Duquesne University in 1953 and he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacy from the University of Maryland in 1957.

On July 4, 1964, he married Barbara Joan Kurek. Together, they raised four sons, Christopher, John Jay, Gregory and Brian in Locust Valley, New York.

John had a passion for his family, for teaching and learning, and for discovery and development. In his career he worked as a teaching fellow at Duquesne University, a teaching professor, department chair, and Assistant Dean at St. John’s University and then Dean at Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy in Brooklyn, NY. Upon his early retirement in 1990, John founded his own Aerosol development company, (Sciarra Laboratories), in Hicksville, NY to pursue his lifelong career as a premier expert in metered dose inhalers. John’s expertise was sought after throughout the world and he developed and maintained decades long clients and friendships across multiple continents.

He also loved to travel with his family. He and Barbara never missed a chance to combine work travel with family travel. They literally traveled the world with their children. John loved to be surrounded by friends, family and of course, good food. He could never get enough of any of it. He looked forward to any holiday, birthday, party or excuse to gather, be with people, eat and socialize. He took pride in knowing he was surrounded by his family and many people he considered great friends.

While John loved his work and spent countless hours there, his absolute proudest moments were his marriage to his beloved Barbara and their 55 years, the birth of his sons and watching them grow into fine men and the birth of his five, cherished grandchildren. There was nothing more important to him than his family.

What did John teach us? He taught us to be dedicated to whatever you do and to do it right. The phrase “If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all” resonates with anyone who truly knew him. He could be frustrating in his attention to detail, but it was that exacting pursuit of perfection that became his hallmark in everything he did.

John was preceded in death by his father, Anthony, his mother, Jennie and his sister Marie. He is survived by his loving wife Barbara, his four sons, Christopher (wife Sandy), John Jay, Gregory (wife Cia) and Brian (wife Valerie), his two sisters Jeanie and Gloria, several cousins, nieces, and nephews and his five grandchildren, Victoria, Benjamin, Cassandra, Jonathan and Damian.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to St. John’s University @ and directed to (CPHS) Dean’s Scholarship Fund.

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