ANSLEY—Longtime barber Ron Hanshew celebrated his 90th birthday in November 2019 and continues to be an active member of the Ansley community. Born in the Ansley area in 1929, Ron has seen more than a dozen United States presidents and remembers when land sold for just $15 an acre in 1947.
This past winter KCNI/KBBN talked with Ron at his barber shop on Ansley’s Main Street. Ron has been a barber for a total of 64 years after he attended barber school in Colorado, worked in Denver for five years, returned to Nebraska to work in Loup City, and then Ansley where he opened his barber shop nearly 60 years ago. Ron’s Barber Shop celebrated its 59th anniversary on February 27.
“I’ve been lucky and fortunate to do what I do, I enjoy what I do,” Hanshew told KCNI/KBBN. “I’ve been with it a long, long time and I enjoy what I do. And one thing about it, I’m not perfect in my work. The only trouble of it is my mistakes are up walking around!”
As a staple of the Ansley business district, Ron’s Barber shop saw one of its busiest days in the 1960s with Ron saying he cut 50 heads of hair in just one day and the average haircut cost $1.25.
In addition to working at the barber shop five days a week, Ron still owns some land near Ansley, fixes fences, gardens, participates in a bowling league and has traveled to Reno for a national bowling tournament for the last 25 years.
“I try to do a lot of things I just do it a little slower anymore, that’s all,” Ron Hanshew continued. “I’m glad I’m still doing it because this helps keep me going. I’m still not ready to retire! I’m tired but I’m not retired. I’m just glad I’m able to do what I do really for the age I am.”
Ron’s granddaughter Lori Racicky says the family of five generations is grateful to have Ron, who can be a bit ornery!
“He just doesn’t quit and he’s ornerier than heck,” Racicky said. “He has a garden that I swear could feed the whole town of Ansley, he just keeps busy,” she continued. “I hope that I can be half the person he is, he is just awesome.”
Another milestone anniversary is coming up this year for Ron and his wife Elaine, 87, who will celebrate 70 years of marriage on May 13, 2020. Ron and Elaine have four children, 12 grandchildren, too many great grandchildren to count, and one great-great granddaughter.
Great granddaughter Whitney Fenton co-owns Livvia’s Boutique with her mom Lori Racicky and they have the honor of owning a business down the street from Ron. Fenton says it is a blessing to have five generations of the family so close and said Ron has cut all of the grandkids’ hair through the years.
“It’s a blessing, I mean, to have that. Not many people are blessed and are able to have that,” Fenton said. In addition to Livvia’s, Fenton also works in cosmetology. “It’s awesome and I actually went to hair school because of him. He’s a barber and it’s inspiring to do something he did.”
Lori Racicky added that the extended family is close-knit and gets together for holidays and family events.
“It is awesome to still have him around. You know, five generations is pretty unique anymore. It’s just great to still have him around. I don’t know what I’ll do without him. It means a lot, especially to my grandma,” she said.
When asked if he ever thought he would see the year 2020, Ron said, “Well, you know the only reason I seen it is the good Lord only takes good people, he leaves the rest of us here!”
As for advice Ron wants younger people to take to heart: learn to work. “Learn to work. Learn to work! That’s our problem anymore,” Ron said.
The Hanshew family traveled through snowy road conditions this past November to celebrate Ron’s 90th birthday.
“I’ve been fortunate; my life has been pretty good so far, so far!” Ron said.