Freddie Davis has been cutting the hair of military servicemen, civilians and children for nearly 20 years from McFly's Barber and Style on South Berkeley Boulevard.

After working 54 years in the business, including 20 from the Goldsboro shop, he decided it's time to retire.

McFly's Barber and Style, at 212 S. Berkeley Blvd. near the front gate of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, will close at the end of the day today.

"It's a sad time," he said. "It's not something I'm looking forward to. I'm 77 years old, and it's my time to get out and enjoy what we worked for.

"For the most part, it's been a great experience. It's been a great ride, and I wish I could get on it and ride again."

At 6 p.m. today, Davis will pack away his shears and clippers and walk away with five decades worth of memories of the countless adults and children he gave military style haircuts to over the years.

Customers stopped by the barbershop Wednesday and thanked Davis for his service.

Cutting hair never felt much like work but more similar to sitting down with a friend over a cup of coffee, he said.

"Just think of how many coffee breaks I've had with people throughout the day, and I get paid for it," he said. "I enjoy people. I've tried to treat people as I'd like to be treated."

Davis has worked in barbershops on or near military bases for decades. His second love for aviation was also reflected inside McFly's where he decorated the walls with aviation pictures, many from World War II. The ceiling was also decorated with close to 60 model airplanes.

Most of his collections have since been given away, with the pictures donated to a base squadron and the airplanes given as gifts to customers, mostly children.

"I wanted to give them to people who have an appreciation for them," Davis said.

The decision to close was made about two weeks ago. Davis had already been thinking about retirement for a year or so.

His former staff of three have since taken jobs inside a new barbershop, Headlinez, located next door at 210 S. Berkeley Blvd. The clientele has also started shifting over to the new location.

"He's been there almost 20 years, and I was there 16 years," said Dottie Winn, who was cutting hair inside Headlinez Wednesday. "He's been there forever. I had a great run with him, I'll tell you that. It's always been a fabulous barber shop."

Jason Curtis, who worked at McFly's about a year, decided to open Headlinez barbershop to keep the McFly's stylists employed.

"This is what we wanted to do to continue taking care of the clientele," Curtis said.

He enjoyed working at McFly's where Davis maintained the old-fashioned barbershop atmosphere.

"The old-fashioned barbershop and the nostalgia of that made it pretty neat," Curtis said.

Davis opened McFly's in 1997, after working at the SJAFB barbershop for a year. He decided on the name because of his love of aviation.

"I named it McFly's," he said. "You can put Mc in front of anything and make a name. I wanted something that implied flying."

Originally from Fayetteville, Davis started cutting hair when he was in the Air Force, where he served from 1959 to 1963. He's continued to work in barbershops ever since.

He and his wife, Avis, moved to Goldsboro from northern Michigan, near the Canadian border, in 1996 in an effort to get away from brutally cold winters.

He'll miss the business but is looking forward to having more time to travel and spend time at his Florida home. Davis is a rated commercial pilot and a certified flight instrument instructor.

"I have the greatest appreciation and admiration with the people I have met and was able to give services to," he said. "I'm extremely fortunate."