Frances Pignoloni Foti, 97, of Haverford Township, a pioneering mortar-and-pestle pharmacist who managed to raise three children while operating a popular Ardmore drugstore seven days a week, died at her home on April 27.

She and her husband, Leonard, ran what was officially called the County Line Pharmacy for 40 years. Unofficially it was a neighborhood hub that sold the likes of comic books, Whitman Samplers, baseball cards, cigars, ice cream, and inexpensive gifts that kids could buy their mothers, recalled her son Lawrence Foti.

Long before CVS and Rite-Aid and Amazon, the store opened in 1947 in an era when one could get new heels, a haircut, and a screwdriver without so much as getting in a car or summoning an Uber.

The Fotis’ store was in the thick of it all, a place to buy an Il Progreso newspaper, or a soda, or maybe find a future husband or wife, or earn some spending money.

“We gave a whole bunch of kids in the neighborhood their first jobs,” said Lawrence Foti.

The store also was where Mrs. Foti recruited women to what was once a decidedly male pharmaceutical industry.

“She tended to hire women,” her son said, because, in her words, “‘I wanted to give women a chance.’ She was ahead of our time. She was pretty darn smart.

“She became an inspiration for many of the young girls in the neighborhood who primarily saw women as homemakers,” he said.

Mrs. Foti, born Sept. 10, 1924, grew up in South Philadelphia, attended Hallahan High School for Girls, and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1945.

“She wanted to be a doctor,” her son said, but she determined “that would take too long.” She had another ambition: “She wanted to raise a family.”

She married Leonard Foti after he was discharged from the Army, and they decided they wanted to open a pharmacy. They found an ideal opportunity in Ardmore in an Italian enclave, where her acquaintance with Italian would be an asset.

Even better, the property came with a house attached, perfect for raising a family while running the business. It also made for a considerably short commute.

Her husband stocked shelves, swept floors, worked the counter, and did everything else that a non-pharmacist could do.

When the children were born, Mrs. Foti’s mother, an Italian immigrant, was on hand to keep the shop running. When they were old enough, the children pitched in.

“You just walked through the door if you want to see your mother or father,” Lawrence Foti said. “It was a wonderful way to grow up.”

Mrs. Foti was no mere pill dispenser, he said, but a highly skilled “compounding pharmacist,” who knew her chemistry and combined ingredients for medication by hand. She also offered generic medical advice to customers, her son said.

Mrs. Foti actively promoted neighborhood pharmacies, and she became the first woman president of the Delaware County Pharmacists’ Association.

Her son said that he could never recall Mrs. Foti, herself, becoming sick.

The Fotis’ vacations were on the rare side of infrequent, he said, and his mother would unwind on late Friday nights after the store closed by going bowling with her friends.

When Mrs. Foti’s husband died, in 1981, Lawrence Foti said he came back to help with the store, what he called “a second career.” The store closed in 1987.

It evidently had left quite an impression on customers.

“Many fond memories of shopping in the pharmacy and even calling in the middle of the night to get medicine for my daughter. She was always willing to open her door no matter the time,” read one comment on the funeral service’s tribute page.

Said another, “There’s not a day I drive down County Line that I don’t think of your Mom’s pharmacy.”

For 70 years Mrs. Foti was an active member of St. Denis Parish, in Havertown, where she helped start and organize the Italian Night Festival, which became “wildly popular,” Lawrence Foti said. She also volunteered with the local Brownie troop.

In addition to Lawrence, she is survived by another son, Leonard Jr.; daughter Rita; four grandchildren; two great-grandchilden; and nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Foti was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Delaware County, after a funeral Mass on May 2 at St. Denis Church.

The family requests that offering be made in her name to the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia, 1166 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146.