- October 11, 2021
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A nearly 90-year-old veteran and barber remains a fan favorite in the community, proving he will never go out of style, just like one of his famous haircuts.
Vern Dietz, a beloved barber at Gwen’s Salon in Greeley, celebrates his 90th birthday on Oct. 8. For over three years, Dietz has spent his Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. working at the salon.
Dietz has his fair share of regulars who stop in just for one of his haircuts. He even has had some of the same customers for over 50 years, he said.
Prior to opening her own salon, Gwen Arguello and the popular veteran had worked together for 16 years at a different location. By the time she started working at the old shop, Dietz was already a permanent figure in the community and a legend in the world of cutting hair.
“I’ve known of Vern since I was a little girl,” she said. “When I was going through beauty school, I went to his old shop and watched him because he is just a legend.”
The two have become more like family after years of learning from his experience and growing together in business, according to Arguello. The most rewarding thing about knowing and working with him is learning from his lifetime of wisdom.
“Learning all aspects of life, not just the business, but just his positive attitude,” Arguello said.
Dietz began his journey to being the “man, the myth, the legend” when he moved to Greeley in 1958. He started his long-term career of cutting the hair of thousands of people over the span of those 60-plus years.
He loves all aspects of the business, but he has a strong passion and expertise for men’s haircuts, Dietz said.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I like to see guys walk out of here with a nice looking haircut.”
His love for cutting men’s haircuts steamed from his childhood experiences and time in the Navy.
Dietz spent the first 18-years of his life on a farm in Kansas where he first discovered his dream of becoming a barber. As a teenager, he would cut hair when families would come together.
“You know it’s interesting, I guess it was just my natural calling,” Dietz said. “Yeah, I’ve tried a few other things but it never worked out, but I always came right back to the barber.”
Despite his mother wanting him to pursue barber school due to his talent, Dietz moved to Denver to make a living by building houses with his uncle. After 6 months of work, the Korean War broke out, so he decided to enlist in the Navy.
For four years, Dietz had the opportunity to serve his country and do what he loved the most. He worked as a barber on a Navy ship that ran five days per week for eight hours per day.
“So I came to Denver and that’s when Uncle Sam called me,” Dietz said. “I had a good four-year run.”
Even with Dietz’s career as a barber dating back to the early ’50s, Arguello described him as a “youthful” person everyone loves and gets along with.
“He’s ageless,” she said. “He’s in better shape than all of us, really. He’s always happy-go-lucky. And he’s very talented, he still has it. I think we’re all honored to be able to work with Vern. It’s a privilege.”
From his time cutting hair as a teen to his current position at the salon, Dietz has continued following his calling in life. He has become a face everyone loves to see, a person everyone looks forward to talking to and a barber from whom everyone wants a haircut.
And he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
As an almost 90-year-old man, people are always impressed and shocked by his work ethic. Dietz has one thing to say to those people:
“Just keep trucking. Don’t let them old bones dry up.”
“As long as the good Lord let’s me and as long as he keeps me upright and the skeleton system is working,” Dietz added about his plans to keep working as a barber.
Dietz wants to continue “everyday living” for this next year of his life. When asked if he was excited about the upcoming milestone, he said, “Not really, it’s just another day.”
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