Get to know Ron Saltzgiver
Clipping hair and collecting stories since 1968
ST. CHARLES – When Ron Saltzgiver started cutting hair at Berry's Barbershop in St. Chalres in 1968, he didn't expect to turn his job into a decades-long career.
Saltzgiver, who has owned the Main Street shop since 1971, said he planned to pursue other work after a couple of years.
"I blink my eyes, and it's 45 years later," he said.
The 67-year-old was raised at Mooseheart, in Batavia, where he said he received a vocational degree in addition to his academic degree. An aptitude test indicated being a barber would suit him, he said, so he took the state test for his license in April 1964 and graduated from high school two months later.
He has been cutting men's hair ever since, he said.
Saltzgiver worked for a year in Carpentersville before he was drafted into the army, he said, noting he spent a year in Kansas and a year in Vietnam.
He returned to Carpentersville for about a year before moving to St. Charles in November 1968, Saltzgiver said.
"St. Charles has been good to me," Saltzgiver said.
Throughout the years, Saltzgiver's customers have included mayors, retired policemen and generations of fathers and sons, he said. He has learned a lot just by listening to them, he said.
"A lot of smart people walk through that door," he said.
He and his customers talk about a variety of topics, such as politics and sports. To him, they are more than clients.
"I consider my customers my family," Saltzgiver said.
His own family includes four children and nine grandchildren who live in Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas, he said.
In his free time, Saltzgiver enjoys playing golf at Pottawatomie, he said, noting he bought his senior pass Feb 13. He also likes antique cars and owns a red 1966 Ford Fairlane 500XL convertible. His grandchildren call it the ice cream car because he takes them to get ice cream in it, he said.
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