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Martha Gilmore Parfet, granddaughter of Upjohn founder, dies

Martha Gilmore Parfet, the last surviving granddaughter of the founder of The Upjohn Co., has died. She was 91.

Parfet died Monday at her home in Hickory Corners in southwestern Michigan, following a brief illness. Her obituary was posted online by a Richland funeral home, Farley Estes & Dowdle.

Parfet's grandfather was W.E. Upjohn, founder of a Kalamazoo drug company that carried his name. It merged with another company in 1995 and now is part of Pfizer.

For 20 years, Parfet ran the family department store, Gilmore Brothers. Parfet was a trustee at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the first woman to lead the board.

Foundation president Carrie Pickett-Erway says Parfet was a philanthropist and icon in the Kalamazoo area. Upjohn's $1,000 donation created the foundation in 1925.