At 77 years old, local barber Richard Gold is retiring after nearly 59 years of service.
To commemorate those years of memories — and more than 420,000 haircuts — a retirement party for Gold and his customers will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at his shop, Town & Country Barbershop, 13467 Barryhill Ave.
“It sounded like we should do something for all those years and say ‘thank you’ to everybody,” Gold said.
Officially, Gold retired on Jan. 1. However, he cut his grandson Zach Paulson’s hair Wednesday. It was the final haircut for him as a barber and for the business.
Paulson and his family had moved back to Council Bluffs six months ago. As a kid — and since returning to the area — Paulson’s haircuts were done by his grandfather. When his 8-month-old son needed his first haircut, Paulson also took him to his grandfather.
“Each time I entered (the shop), he had a smile on his face, and greeted you with kindness,” Paulson said. “He cared about each person that has walked through the door.”
Gold shared this kindness with other customers as well. His favorite part of work was the conversations he had while cutting hair.
“I made a lot of friends,” Gold said. “That’s the best part of the job — making friends with people. If you don’t like people, this isn’t the business to be in.”
Some stories Paulson told was of cutting his grandkids’ hair, and his great-grandkids’ hair, as well as other community members around town. One was a child who wouldn’t sit still in the barber chair, and his mother had to catch him to bring him back. Gold said that child is now an attorney.
His journey as a barber began soon after graduating from Lenox High School in 1960. Originally, he had wanted to work in for the highway patrol, Gold said. However, he eventually followed a friend to barber school. The barber school took half a year, and the apprenticeship took another year and a half.
Dick followed another classmate, his wife Carolyn, as she went to secretarial school in Omaha. He moved to Council Bluffs for work.
“I got as close to Omaha as I could get,” he said.
His demeanor and skills paid off as a barber, as he had numerous regular customers over the years.
“I still had a pretty good business, but I decided to take it easier and slow up a little,” Gold said.
After retiring, Gold plans to spend time fishing, traveling with his wife and spending time with his grandkids and great grandkids.
“Maybe I can teach them how to fish,” Gold said.