COTTER — Lonnie Ash swept the floor, turned off the air conditioning and flipped his “Open” sign to “Closed” for the last time Friday afternoon.
Ash, 84, retired on Friday after operating a barbershop in Cotter for more than 52 years.
“The shop’s been nice to me. It helped send four kids to college,” he said. “I’ve spent 57 years cutting hair, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”
Lonnie Ash and his wife, Saundria, are moving to Conway to be closer to kids and grandchildren. Saundria Ash has worked in the Baxter County office of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service for 30 years and is retiring at the end of the month.
“It’s been like a funeral in here today,” Lonnie Ash said Friday while cutting the hair of Calvin Cowart, his final customer. “I’ve cut a lot of hair, gotten a lot of hugs. People telling me goodbye, saying they will miss me.”
Cowart said he was honored to be Ash’s final customer. Cowart, 68, been coming to the Cotter barber since he opened his shop at 111 Harding Blvd. on Feb. 3, 1965. Cowart was a high school sophomore at the time.
“There’s four years there where I was in the Marine Corps where he didn’t cut my hair,” Cowart said. “Other than that, I’ve had my hair cut here since 10th grade.”
Mayor Peggy Hammack described Ash as one of…
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