Jan 16, 2014 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
A boldface black-and-white sign hangs in the front window of Dave Detlor’s barber shop on First Street: “Closed, Retired Due to Illness.”
After decades of trimming and layering, clipping and shaving, chatting and listening, Dave has packed up his scissors. His Lakeview Barber Shop at 221 First St. closed a couple weeks before Christmas. Dave, who will celebrate his 88th birthday on Jan. 25, was nudged into retirement by mantle cell lymphoma.
Last autumn, when he should have been out shooting deer, Dave was diagnosed, and now he’s facing chemotherapy treatments. Realizing that he needed to focus fully on fighting his disease, Dave locked up the Lakeview and now spends most of his time with his lovely wife, Ceaira, at the home Dave built for them on Seneca River in Baldwinsville. The couple has been married for 33 years.
“Yeah, I used to work as a carpenter before I started barbering,” he said. “So I built that house on the river from scratch.” Never reluctant to tackle tough jobs, Dave previously worked 12 years at Crouse-Hinds.
Mantle cell lymphoma one of the rarest of the non-Hodgkins lymphomas, with just 15,000 patients across America. Dave got out on opening day of deer season last fall, but the lymphoma was already weakening him.
“When they first diagnosed me, they were saying I had six months,” Dave said last weekend. “But now the doctors are telling me five years. That would get me up to 92.”
I have fond memories of getting my hair cut at Dave’s shop back in the 1980s.The Lakeview upheld the tradition of an all-guys’ barber shop complete with Field & Stream in the magazine rack. Dave has a dry sense of humor that his customers always appreciated. For instance, a sign hung inside the shop advertised “Mustaches trimmed, men only.”
For his entire life, Dave has been a member of the National Rifle Association and has hunted nearly every opening day of the turkey- and deer-hunting seasons for more than 50 years.
Each fall for the regular deer season, he and Ceaira drive their camping trailer and set up on private property near Truxton down in Cortland County. They stay for nearly a month as they each hunt deer.
During turkey-hunting season in the spring of 2012, Dave bagged a 19-pound bird sporting a 9½-inch beard and 7/8-inch spurs. He shot the gobbler with a single-shot, 20-gauge shotgun over near Central Square. For the past year or so at the shop, Dave would gladly show off the bird’s fanned tail feathers and beard.
“I like the meat, and I like the challenge,” Dave said about hunting. Turkeys, he noted, “are beautiful animals, but they look good right next to the mashed potatoes, too.”
His whole philosophy about walking in the woods with a long gun slung over his shoulder is summarized on a button seen at the shop: “A bad day hunting is better than a good day at work.”
Though he’s now facing a daunting foe, Dave’s a fierce fighter. A proud member of the Greatest Generation, he fought in World War II and survived the Battle of the Bulge.
His World War II experience makes the last 69 years of his life seem relative routine.
“Work-sleep-eat, work-sleep-eat is boring in a way, but it keeps a roof over your head,” he once told an interviewer. “Change? Not in the last 50 years, really. All of my excitement came before that. In fact the day I was 18 I went in [to the Army] and got over there just in time for the Germans to break through the Ardennes.”
The Battle of the Bulge raged for five long, cold weeks in December 1944 and January 1945, as a major German offensive launched through the densely forested Ardennes. It was the biggest battle on the Western Front. American forces suffered 89,500 casualties including 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded and 23,000 missing.
“There’s nothing you could compare it to, that’s for sure,” Dave said. “It gave you a discipline that you might not have had. You still seemed to do things in an orderly manner.”
Dave is doing what he can to stave off his sickness. Meanwhile, guys like Tony DiRubbio have to find someone else to cut their hair. For 42 years, DiRubbio came all the way from Skaneateles to have Dave craft his coiff. Former Liverpool chiropractor Doug Rosenkrantz, who lives in Cazenovia, was also a loyal customer. Other Lakeview regulars, like Ed Egloff Jr. from Galeville and Joe Romano and John Landers from the village, all miss Dave’s deft touch with the clippers.
The shop may be shuttered, but Dave and Ceaira are still receiving mail at 221 First St., so friends can drop him a card or letter. The zip is 13088.