Much-loved and much-respected pharmacist and community leader, Mario Calanna, passed away at the end of 2022 after a long illness. One of our very favourite authors, Mario published his memoir, “Design a Good Life: From Farm to Farmacia to Whole Health”, in 2018. After a long life of service to others, Mario will be greatly missed in the Cairns community and beyond.
Mario grew up on a cane farm to the south of Cairns. When he was a teenager, his father, Tony Calanna, said to him, “Son, the pick and shovel are this way, and the books are that way. You choose.” Although Mario enjoyed working on the farm with his father, he chose the books. He graduated as a pharmacist, and opened his first pharmacy on the land that was formerly the family cane farm. Being an outstanding businessman and ideas man, Mario gradually increased the number of pharmacies he owned, until there was a string of them up and down the Queensland coast. The Calanna Pharmacies operated until Mario’s ill health necessitated their sale. Although they are now owned by a large pharmacy chain, Mario’s former customers still recall the excellent services and facilities provided by the Calanna Pharmacies.
Mario’s focus was on leaving a legacy to be proud of and that would benefit other people. In his memoir, Mario wrote of the importance of legacy and service, and his book contains valuable information and advice for others who wish to create a good life. In Stephen Chong’s words: “From Farm to Farmacia is a wonderful historical and aspirational journey of a life well-lived. The book is a must-read to learn of love, family, good health and the power of belief.”
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