Jack Dick, the last great haircut

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Growing up, life is a series of coming-of-age moments. Your first car, your first date, your first airplane ride... But one of the very first coming-of-age moments is that first time you walk into a barber shop all by yourself. Tell the guy how you want it cut, pay him, tip him (!), and feel just a little bit older.

When I was a kid, Jack Dick was my barber. Three weeks ago, he passed away. At his little shop, customers keep coming by and leaving in tears. Some leave flowers. He's been cutting hair for 42 years - and for many of us, there's no place else we'd rather go.

Yesterday, the Oregonian's Amy Martinez Starke captured the essence of Jack:

Longtime customers knew to be prepared with a book, newspaper or even nap when they came to be shorn by barber Jack Dick. It could be a long wait, and they knew Jack would wake them when it was their turn.

Jack was a fixture in downtown Lake Oswego, a popular old-fashioned men's $12-cut, no-appointment, one-chair barber who had been in the same shop at 425 Second St. for 42 years.

Jack knew his customers were happy when they left his chair because they came from all over the Portland area. They hated for him to go on his annual two-week Hawaiian vacation, and he paid dearly for being gone: They crowded him up so he had to work nonstop beforehand, and no sooner than he got back, he'd be flooded for days and couldn't drive his Ford pickup out of the parking lot until after 6:30 p.m. ...

Portland Trail Blazer coaches came for his haircuts. College kids made sure their trips home coincided with their need for a haircut. Whole basketball and football teams would come down from the high school at the same time. Men raced each other in the parking lot to be first in the door... Sometimes, if the shop was full, they'd just say, "Be back, Jack."

I sent the story along to my brother, Jori, who told this story about Jack:

I remember back in 1985. I was in fifth grade. Everyone was getting flat tops. I tried to get one at a regular haircut place. It wasn't good enough.

Everyone else was going to "Jack Dick". But we couldn't find "Jack Dick" in the phone book. I'd just given up on ever finding him when my mom walked me down to the Country Square Barber, tucked back behind a children's book store, across the street from Graham's Stationery. Maybe this place could do a flat top.

As she left me to walk in the shop alone, I saw the small sign on the door: Jack Dick, Barber. It was him! He was real! Jack Dick existed! I had found him.

I got my first flat top that day and kept going back for years, as the haircut went from $7, to $8, then eventually all the way up to $12. It was at Jack Dick's that I learned about inflation, and also about tipping. And also about waiting 4 hours for a haircut.

We'll miss you, Jack.

  • Kevin Card (unverified)

    I delivered mail to Jack Dick for the last decade or so. Jack was the real deal, always ready to hear the next joke , always ready to jump out of his chair on those rare days when the shop was empty and give me a haircut. His shop and his demeanor were throwbacks to an earlier era when we took time out to share a laugh and wait in line for the barber. Walking past Jack's empty shop brings a smile and a tear, each and every day.

  • (Show?)

    Nowadays, most people don't know Jack Dick... or anyone like him.

  • Jack Squat (unverified)

    O.K. I couldn't resist any longer.

    I don't know Jack Dick.

  • Richard Martens (unverified)

    My last hair-cut with Jack was sometime last year. He told me about his wife having passed away. During the course of the hair-cut, I told him how my then most recent haircut back here in Virginia was when I accidently stumbled into a barbershop that was all black. He laughed so hard as I related the story, he had to stop cutting... I've told friends all over the country about "Jack the barber"... I had the priviledge of going to him for 14 years....

connect with blueoregon