Tyrone barber retires

Ken Sollenberger and wife Elvira came to Tyrone from Williamsburg in 1962, having completed his barber’s education in Pittsburgh.
They moved to Tyrone to begin Ken’s Apprentice Training with Jess Sessaman Jr. at 1361 Logan Avenue. Upon moving to Tyrone, their children, Kathy and Karen were born at Tyrone Hospital.
After finishing his 15-month apprentice program, he was licensed and employed by Mr. Sessaman from 1962 to 1986 when Sessaman retired. Ken continued solo at the Logan Avenue shop to serve the Tyrone community for another 19 years before retiring Friday, August 19, two days after his 62nd birthday. His total years as community barber were 43.
During those 43 years at the Logan Avenue location, he literally cut thousands of loyal customers’ hair, with his 10-minute morning appointments and 15-minute afternoon appointments booked full on a consistent basis. His many customers will miss Ken’s great haircut, friendly conversation (especially sportsmen) and fair price as they look for another barber.
Sollenberger, though retiring from public business, will continue to serve his elderly customers who are physically handicapped and incapable of getting out for a haircut.
He will now have time to enjoy his wife’s companionship, children and grandchildren and church, as well as his love of the outdoors, hunting and fishing.
Recently, Mr. Sollenberger was recognized by Tyrone’s WTRN radio station with the Outstanding Citizen Award for the month of August 2005 for his 43 years of contribution to the Tyrone community.
Cary Simpson aptly stated in this award, “On Friday, August 19, when Ken Sollenberger turned off the lights for the last time at his Logan Avenue Barber Shop, he put away his scissors after an estimated 44 million snips of hair from the heads of his customers during his many years of serving the people of Tyrone.
“But he’s not really retiring, since he will still do ‘good neighbor visits’ to cut the hair of shut-ins and sick people. And that will be only part of his activity serving others in the future.
“Ken will continue to be the Choir Director for the Grace Baptist Church and will lead that talented and devoted group each week at practices and during the services.
“It was fitting that Ken’s last customer didn’t pay for his haircut; it was his grandson, and that final haircut must have brought back a lot of memories for Ken, as he remembered the passing years and thousands of friends and customers he has served.
“These people got more than a haircut, they got the opportunity for spirited and good natured discussions, always with a good and moral tone.
“Ken Sollenberger has had and will continue to have, a significant impact on this place we call home.”