Roy Simpson marks 60 years on 80th birthday

Willis Lehman, on the longtime booster board in the barber chair with his great-grandfather Roy Dean Simpson ready to trim. Willis's dad and Simpson's grandson Jonathan Lehman stands by.

Willis Lehman, on the longtime booster board in the barber chair with his great-grandfather Roy Dean Simpson ready to trim. Willis's dad and Simpson's grandson Jonathan Lehman stands by. Photo by David Wilson.

Moving up on 60 years as a barber in California on his 80th birthday, Roy Dean Simpson was celebrated for both landmark occasions in a single event.

Many customers, friends and family members dropped in at Simpson's Barber Shop, at the same location on the courthouse square as it was when Simpson, his wife Donna (Dillbeck) and eight-month-old daughter Angie relocated to California from Crane on Nov. 28, 1952. He bought the barber shop that had been operated by William Bieri. It had been closed for about six weeks after Bieri's death.

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Roy Dean Simpson is honored with a Proclamation declaring the day Roy Simpson Day by Mayor Norris Gerhart. The occasion is Simpson's 80th birthday and 60 years in business as a barber.

There have certainly been many changes in the barber shop since Simpson bought it, but many of them took place so long ago, not even the regular customers remember the way it was.

A pew-like bench was added years ago, an oil heater in the shop when Simpson bought it gave way to a natural gas heater, but even that was more than 50 years ago. The large mirror on the back wall was once in the bar just north of the barber shop. The ceiling was lowered and air conditioning added. The barber equipment has been updated many times over the years but the feel and flavor of the shop seems to be the same as it always was. Even many of the customers are the same — only older.

The Simpson family has seen some changes since going into the barber business in California. When they first moved to town, the Simpsons lived above the shop. As the family grew with the birth of three more children—Pam, Mike and John— a move was made to larger quarters.

Among the many who visited for coffee, doughnuts, deviled eggs, conversation and reminiscing were grandson Jonathan and great-grandson Willis.

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