December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Man’s haircut a century in the making

David Hibben, 100, gets a free haircut from Pete DelMonico for his birthday at Delmonico's Barber Shop in Lorain on Aug. 8. Steve Manheim

David Hibben, 100, gets a free haircut from Pete DelMonico for his birthday at Delmonico’s Barber Shop in Lorain on Aug. 8. Steve Manheim

LORAIN — David Hibben made the cut.

About a year ago, Hibben, who turned 100 on Thursday, was promised a free haircut by his barbers, Pete DelMonico and his son, Jeff DelMonico, of DelMonico’s Barber Shop, 4485 Oberlin Ave. The barber shop gives free haircuts to customers on their 100th birthday and Hibben was the first to make good on the centenarian freebie. “Dad says, ‘I want to live. At least to get that free haircut,’” said Hibben’s son, Dale Hibben.

The elder Hibben knows the value of money, having lived through the Great Depression. He also lived through World War I, the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 that killed 21.5 million people worldwide and World War II.

David Hibben grew up in McKeesport, Pa., before moving to Elyria around 1950 and settling in Lorain in 1966, according to Kent Hibben.

Kent Hibben said his father told him he hid his lunch while riding street cars to work during the Depression because he was embarrassed to be working when so many were jobless. World War II ended the Depression and Kent Hibben said his father’s job as a general foreman for U.S. Steel kept him out of the war.

After retiring in 1972, Hibben took road trips in his motor home with his wife Fran — she died in 2007 — and did woodworking. Hibben, who has two sons, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, made many clocks, mirrors, shelves and tables for friends and relatives.

Hibben, who has been getting haircuts at DelMonico’s since it relocated to Oberlin Avenue in 2002, drove until 2008 when he broke a hip. He now uses a wheelchair and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which makes breathing difficult. Kent Hibben attributes the disease to years of his father breathing in chemicals at the steel plant and breathing in chemicals from woodworking.

Nonetheless, Kent Hibben said his father is relatively healthy for his age. He likes watching Cleveland Indians games and listening to music at Elmcroft of Lorain, the nursing home where he lives.

A party was held at Elmcroft after the haircut, and relatives will hold a party this weekend at Kent Hibben’s home in New Russia Township.

Long life runs in David Hibben’s family. His mother lived to 98 and his grandmothers lived to be 97 and 98.
“I think it’s genetics,” Hibben said about his long life.

Kent Hibben, 70, anticipates a long life and said he has a lot to look forward to. He’ll earn a free haircut June 7, 2043.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.