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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Liz MoralesDot Graham finished her last day at Darrell and Co. Hairstyling after 62 and a half years of service Dec. 27.

The new year will see a fresh beginning for Dorothy “Dot” Graham, as she will exchange her hair stylist shears for gardening tools.

After 62 and a half years behind the hair stylist chair, Graham is retiring from Darrell and Co. Hairstyling. While the name of the business has changed throughout the years, its 505 South Oak Street location has remained the same. Along with the location, Graham was an ever steady presence.

“I took my apprenticeship here from Mildred Papen,” Graham said. “She owned the shop back then. After that, she sold the shop to me, and I opened my own and called it Kut ’n’ Kurl.”

Kut ’n’ Kurl provided California style in the hair department until Graham sold it to June Allee, who in turn eventually sold the shop to Darrell Schnack 39 years ago.

Even though the names and ownership switched several times throughout the years, Graham knew she had found her home at the location.

Her last day of work was Dec. 27, a day Graham described as emotional.

“It’s been a really wonderful day,” she said smiling at the loved ones gathered at Darrel and Co. for her last day. “There’s a lot of cookies here and flowers everywhere.”

While no definitive plans have been made for her next adventure, Graham does have one particular goal to keep in mind.

“I think I’m going to just relax and enjoy myself,” she said. “I’ve always liked to garden, too. I think I’ll make more time for that now that I can.”

Friends, family and clients came to see her off and praise her for her lifetime of service. Hugs and smiles were abundant all around, along with the dozens of bouquets of flowers in Graham’s honor.

Coworkers planned a special retirement party for Graham, but she could not party too hard — she was still at work. She had one more client to take care of before clocking out for the final time.

“I have one last client over there,” she pointed to a smiling future customer. “She is very important to me. She is my neighbor and good friend.”

Once the shears are put down, Graham said she will certainly be back to visit her former home away from home.

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