Boston's 'Joe the Barber' putting away clippers after nearly 60 years

Credit: staff photo

Credit: staff photo

Customers in Massachusetts are losing much more than just a good haircut.

After nearly 60 years, Boston barber Joe Monahan said he's ready to hang up his shears.

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From the music playing on the radio to the decor to the lifelong friends who stop by, a visit with "Joe the Barber" is like a trip down memory lane.

In 1959, Joe the Barber opened Monahan's, the unassuming barbershop in Hyde Park that brings nostalgia to all who enter.

The soon-to-be 87-year-old jokes that because he turned his trade into a lifelong career, along the way he made lifelong friends.

"It's not the job I love, I can forget that, but, it's the people,” Monahan said. "They're all personal friends, I've known this guy, all these guys since I came here."

In 59 years, not much has changed inside Monahan's, including the customers.

"You come here even when you don't need a haircut," said Kevin O'Malley, a customer. "He's not famous for being a barber, he's famous for being a really good guy."

After all these years, Monahan said because he has worked numerous days and hours, he now wants to spend more time with his wife and nine children and grandchildren. He says, however, saying goodbye is never easy.

"I don't feel old, but I am," Monahan said. "If I had to be any place cutting hair, this is the place I'd want to be. These are my best friends in the world right here."

Monahan's attention to detail and the undivided attention he gives his customers will be missed the most.

John O'Donnell said Monahan opened up shop just for him especially on his wedding day in 1960.

"So we set the time, 8 o'clock in the morning, got my haircut, shaved, all right, the whole works," O'Donnell said.

Monahan is leaving behind a last legacy on that neighborhood and generations of families. His last day is Sept. 14.

"He's gonna leave a hole in the neighborhood a million miles wide," O'Malley said.

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