Carmel barber retiring after five decades

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You could say one Carmel barber is a cut above the rest. Over the years, he's given tens of thousands of haircuts. He's counted Bob Irsay and Bill Polian as customers, but at 74 years old, Ross Moffitt says it's time to trade in the shears for golf clubs.

Eyewitness News spent some time with him as he wrapped his long-standing career.

It seemed like any other day at the Butler Barber and Style Shop on East Carmel Drive, with Ross Moffitt cutting hair and talking sports just as he has for 49 years.

But even amid the chatter of March Madness and IU, the buzz inside the five-chair shop Wednesday was quite different.

As Ross trimmed the nape of a customer's neck, another came up to congratulate him, then the phone rang, followed by another person wanting to wish him well with Ross nodding, "Thank you, I've enjoyed it. It's been a good life."

After nearly five decades behind the barber's chair, Ross is retiring. Wednesday was his last day on the job.

"I've had fun, you know. I'll miss them all because all my customers are good friends," he said.

Ross became a barber in 1964. He recalls his father asking,"why a barber?"

Ross told him it was "because I don't think they'll ever invent a machine that will cut people's hair the way they want it."

When he began at shop on the east side of Indianapolis, a haircut cost $1.75. Now it's $16. Hairstyles have changed a lot, too.

"They went from flattops to long hair, back to short again," he said, adding he used to "cut a lot of numbers in kids hair when that was popular. I had one kid who always got Reggie Miller's number on the back of his head."

A friend of Ross' once spent time estimating just how many haircuts he'd given over his 49 years. He guessed it at 281,000.

Ross felt that was probably in line.

"When I first started, I cut hair from eight in the morning until eight at night with one hour off for lunch. That's 11 hours," he said.

Ralph Everly, a dentist, has been going to Ross for 40 years. He purposely scheduled an appointment on Ross's last day.

"He does a great job. I just enjoy being around him," Everly said. "We've sort of grown up together. Let's see, 1972, '82, '92, 2002. Now I don't know what to do. I'll have to find a new barber."

Since Everly is Ross's dentist, "I'll at least get to see him twice a year when he comes into my office."

Fellow barber Jerry Brown was also thinking about coming to work without seeing Ross. He's worked alongside him for 27 years.

"It's gone fast. It's been great," he said.

Brown says when he began as a barber, he looked to Ross as a mentor.

"His clientele was so big, I thought I'll just watch everyone he does," Ross said adding, "I know I'll miss him in lots of ways. Just his presence."

Ross said he'll definitely miss the shop, especially the people but he also looks forward to what lies ahead.

"I'm looking forward to it. All I want to do is play more golf and see the kids," he said, noting he'd still be a sort of on-call barber. "My grandkids have already made me promise to cut their hair and I said yes, and my brothers, too."