03/02/04 — Barber to retire

View Archive

Barber to retire

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 2, 2004 1:57 PM

Raymond Howell says he "got the barber notion as a teen-ager."

That was in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. Armed with hand clippers, he cut the hair of his father and three brothers -- his first customers.

Last haircut

News-Argus/Brent Hood

Raymond Howell has been cutting hair for 58 years and 27 of them have been at the Sunrise Barber Shop off Ash Street. On Saturday, at age 88, he cut his last head of hair. Avery Creech, age 8, is one of his last customers. He's the son of Trey and Pam Creech of the Patetown community.

Then some neighbors came forth to get their hair cut. "Money being scarce in the '30s, they took a chance on me," he said.

He had many customers during his high school years. "I had a fee of 15 cents. This seems small, but men worked for $1 a day at this time."

After high school, Howell was drafted into the Army. During his one-year enlistment, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, and his term was extended.

He became an Army mechanic in World War II and was sent to North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. In Italy he became the company's barber, a job he held until he came home to Goldsboro in 1945.

He went to barber school, graduating a year later, and started work at Ward's Barber Shop on Walnut Street. He was there for 10 years, then he moved to Model Barber Shop.

In 1977, he bought interest in Sunrise Barber Shop, which he later sold to Edsel and Aaron Hooks. But he remained at Sunrise for 27 years.

Saturday was his last day of cutting hair. He has decided to retire, at age 88.

"I've made many friends," he said. "Some have left their children and grandchildren to get their hair cut. It's been nice to meet people from all parts of the county."