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Town reflects on barber’s life

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said it best.

In the passing of Earl Stinson, Brundidge has lost an institution.

Stinson was the last proprietor from the “old guard” still on Main Street. He opened Stinson’s Barbershop in 1945, not long after he came home from the Navy. Since that time, Stinson has been a mainstay on Main Street.

“There’s no other way to say it,” Ramage said. “Mr. Earl was an institution. He cut hair for five generations of many families in and around Brundidge. And, he was as steady as the day is long. He and Robert Garrett, who has worked with him for 59 years, kept regular hours. Over the years, they were the first people on the streets in the morning and were usually there when the rest of us went home. Mr. Earl’s death is a great loss to our community. He was a good man, a good businessman, a good citizen, and he was an institution. Things won’t be the same without him.”

Ramage said it’s not often that a community can enjoy the stability of a one owner, home-owned business for 64 years.

Stinson’s Barber Shop has remained while others have come and gone. But more than the stability of the shop was the man himself.

“You just won’t find a better man. I’ve never heard anything but good things about him. He was a friend to everybody that came through his door,” Ramage said.

“And, his barbershop was the hub of the community. For as long as I can remember, it was the gathering place for the men in our community. They would go in and sit around or prop out on the window ledge. Even today, people stick their heads in the door just to say hello and, often Mr. Earl and Robert would stick their heads out to ask about something they had heard. Things will be real different from now on. Mr. Earl was a man that will be missed by an entire community.”

Steve Flowers likened Stinson’s Barber Shop to Mayberry.

“I never visited Brundidge without going to the barbershop. Everybody went there,” he said.

“Earl and Robert were two characters, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Earl was as good as they come. He was smart, too, and so well spoken. He knew what was going on in the world. He was on top of local, state and national issues. World issues, too, and he had his thoughts on every one of them.

“Now, he didn’t waste words. He would look you right in eyes and tell you what he thought. I like that in a man. You knew right where he stood. He didn’t lollygag around. I loved him, and I’m going to miss him. Everybody who knew him will miss him. Earl Stinson has been a part of the Pike County community for so long that it won’t seem right without him.”

One of the best things that can be said about a man is that he was a good friend to all who knew him.

And Randolph Bray said he will miss his friend terribly.

“Mr. Earl was a good friend and easy to talk to,” Bray said.

“If you needed a favor, he’d help you out and not expect anything back. We’ve been friends for about 23 years. He was a big fisherman, and he had fish ponds. I’m not a fisherman, but he was going to teach me. I told him that I’d probably break him from fishing before he could teach me. But he took me anyway. We didn’t catch a thing. From then on, he’d go fishing and bring ’em to me. He was a fine fellow, and I’m going to miss him terribly bad.”

Flo Stinson agreed that her brother-in-law was a fine man – patriotic and strong in his faith.

“Earl served in the Navy during World War II, at Pearl Harbor,” she said.

“He loved his country, and he was a religious person. He loved his family and his friends. He and my husband, Frank, grew up on a farm in Springhill. They plowed behind a mule and, one time they even plowed with an ox. They knew how to work, and they didn’t mind to put in a long hard day. They were raised hard, but they snapped out of it. Earl was a good brother-in-law. He was good to his family, and he was good to people. We’ll all miss him.”

Graveside services for Earl Stinson will be at 3 p.m. today at Lakeview Cemetery in Brundidge.