Tallahassee, FL - September 14, 2012
The average age expectancy in Florida’s Capital City is 72.2 years. However, at least one man has been working at the same job longer than many people live.
He doesn’t look a day over seventy. The straight edge razor is steady in his hand. At 97 Delmar Smith has been cutting hair 77 years and is the longest practicing barber in the state. He says the doctor wants him to keep at it. “He told me, he says you are where you are today on account that you still work”, says Delmar Smith.
Delmar found barbering by accident. When his brother went off to barber college in 1934, there was no one left to cut his youngest brother’s hair, so he did …over the initial objection of his mother. “She looked at it and she said who cut your hair? And he told her Delmar cut it. She said that looks pretty good. So I’ve been barbering ever since”, recalls Delmar.
Delmar’s second wife Dot, drives him to and from work, although Delmar still does some of the driving. Dot’s husband was a customer of Delmar’s for 35 years before he died. And when Delmar’s first wife passed, the two started dating. “I had the two of the best women in this country”, says Delmar.
When the talk turns to politics, Delmar tells patrons his first vote was cast for Franklin Roosevelt. It was 1935 when Delmar Smith gave his first hair cut. He charged just 25 cents.
Delmar can still be found cutting hair every Tuesday and while his wife might want him to retire so they can travel, he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
You can visit Delmar at Chester's Barbershop at Lake Ella in Tallahassee, Florida.
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