Joe Wilson wasn’t just a barber in David City, he was the community's barber.
Working out of the Bellwood Barber Shop, he was known for his humor and charm.
“Joe was a character,” said his brother, Dan Wilson. “He was always wanting to be the center of attention, he always had a story to tell.”
On Oct. 23, Joe passed away at the age of 74. At the time, he was out of town on a trip in New Mexico. Joe grew up in Bellwood, where his father ran the Bellwood Barber Shop. In 1972, he took over the shop, which today is at 352 N. 5th St. in David City.
His daughter, Jolene Karjalainen, of Kearney, said her father prided himself on serving families during multiple generations.
“He loved having that relationship (with customers),” she said. “He loved doing what he did; he loved being a barber.”
Rex Rehmer, who runs the auto-parts store next door to Joe’s shop, fondly remembers his old neighbor.
“He was in my shop all the time, telling dirty jokes, having fun,” Rehmer said.
Several people on Facebook reached out to The Banner-Press to share their thoughts and memories of Joe.
Nicole Larsen is a bartender at Don’s Bar in David City. She sent a message to The Banner-Press via Facebook about how Joe was one of the bar's regulars.
“He came in multiple times a day to play pool and chat with everyone. He was a very caring, charismatic funny guy. I gave him the nickname Silver Fox. He loved it and loved being called that. I even had a T-shirt made for him,” Larsen wrote. “He will be missed greatly.”
Todd Sherman, Carey Potter and Mitch Henry wrote on Facebook how their parents would take them to get their haircut at the Bellwood Barbershop as kids. They each wrote of how much they enjoyed Joe’s jokes and stories. Amanda Martens recalled Joe’s love of golf.
“When my sister's and I were younger, my mom would go to Joe's Barbershop all the time. The memories I have from going there include him having a practice golf putty, all his golf memorabilia all around the shop, and he always had a sucker for us when we came in with our mom,” she wrote. “He sure is gonna be missed.”
Dorothy Schaecher wrote on Facebook about how Joe gave compliments on her hair.
“No one could cut my hair like Joe. I remember him telling me that ladies would come in for a haircut and tell him ‘I want my haircut like Dorothy Schaecher's,” she wrote. “And he would tell them ‘You don't have hair like hers. It was thick, dark and healthy and I used the shampoo that he suggested.”
Wilma Kobza and Joe both belonged to St.Peter's Catholic Church in Bellwood. She recalled both their mother’s being organists at the church and how they went to school together. She admired Joe's work ethic.
“I remember Joes’ cute little Barber Shop in Bellwood and I always admired him here in David City for his willingness to go to David Place and the Villa as well as homes to cut men’s hair,” she wrote. “He reminded me of the old days when doctors made house calls.”
Joe’s son, Christian J. Wilson, said his father would dress up in costumes to get a laugh out of people at the shop, even if it wasn’t Halloween. He said his father was proud of winning the David City High School Alumni golf tournament on several occasions in the senior division.
A celebration of Wilson’s life will be held on Nov. 9 at Kracl Funeral Chapel at 1954 Industrial Dr. from 6 to 8 p.m. All in the community are invited to attend.
“He was my Dad,” Christian J. Wilson said. “He’s going to be missed.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org