By Kathryn Rice

Gary Greeley of Gary’s Barbershop, 216 West Fourth Street, Maryville, is ready to celebrate his 50th year in business on Sunday, May 1.

Starting in 1972, Gary’s Barbershop has been in two other locations, 219 North Main and on West Third Street.

Greeley was born on a farm near Elmo. He was born with asthma and decided he needed to get out of the dust and dirt. He went to the Moler Barber College, Kansas City, and started his apprenticeship with his uncle, Bill Farrens.

When he decided he wanted to move, his dad knocked on barbershop doors and John Albert “Stubb” Gill agreed to take him on. There were five to six barbers in town at that time.

“Stubb was very good to me,” Greeley said.

Greeley cuts men and boys hair. Besides the haircuts, his barbershop is loaded with memorabilia including Bearcat and Spoofhound items. His front door is painted the Bearcat green of the Northwest bus.

Part of each haircut experience is the jokes and stories Greeley tells.

His favorite joke is “What did the pencil say to the sharpener? Would you quit going in circles and get to the point.” Another joke he told is “I like two kinds of pies. Hot and cold.”

“I have met many acquaintances through the years,” Greeley said. “You can stop the clock but you can’t stop time. Looking ahead 50 years seems almost impossible. But when you get there and look back, wow. How did this happen? As my parents said, ‘time flies.’

“I have a customer who is going to celebrate his 104th birthday in April. He is a great person to visit with.

“I was giving a little boy a haircut and asked him if he ever got in the dog house,” Greeley said. “He said, ‘I don’t even have a dog.’”

Greeley has done at least four generations of several families and believes there may be five generations. He also gives haircuts to Northwest students whose fathers had used his services when they were in school.

His three children, Tyler, Abbie and Spencer, have all graduated from Maryville High School and Northwest Missouri State University. Tyler is a bookstore assistant manager at Rockhurst University, Kansas City; Abbie is at Hibbett Sports, Maryville, as an assistant manager; and Spencer is currently an assistant manager at Shoe Sensation, Maryville. Spencer will start as the PE and health teacher at North Daviess School in Jameson this fall.

He was recently married to Linda.

His barbershop is open Tuesday through Saturday. He currently doesn’t have any plans to retire.