Tom Waters: still cutting it at 98 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tom Waters: still cutting it at 98


by Sunny Layne

COGGON (KWWL) -- Many people look forward to far-away beaches and lush golf courses during retirement. But one eastern Iowa barber says he never got to experience those luxuries, and that is precisely why he can and does still cut hair... at 98-years-old!

Tom Waters is someone you should know. For more than 100 years this clock has kept time on Main Street in Coggon.

"Hi Tom!" a customer shouted.

And for nearly that long, Tom Waters has kept business buzzing in his Main Street barber shop.

"I enjoy it," Waters said.  "I guess that's what keeps you getting up."

"He has the touch," customer Bob Henderson said. "He's always had the touch."

"He's kind of the talk of the community," customer Terry Barker said.

These hands that began cutting hair in 1929 work with equal ease today. Tom Waters is 98 years old.

"We can hope to reach 98 but to be in Tom's health is almost unheard of," Barker said.

After his nearly 80 year career, Tom Waters has given nearly 250,000 haircuts, and he's still going strong.

Waters has kept working through all types of weather, and all types of economies.

"I've seen it boom and I've seen it bust," Waters said. "In 1929 it cost 35 cents, it dropped to 25 cents during the depression."

Now charging a comparatively whopping $8, Waters' customers say they keep coming for his skill, and his conversation.

"You remember Jimmy Scott?" Waters asked a customer. "Sure, you bet."

Waters says he keeps showing up because he likes what he does.

"I take two days off and it's almost too much," Waters said. "I guess that's why I keep coming back. It's more like home to me than sitting around home."

Customers say perhaps the reason Waters can cut hair at 98 is because he never stopped to slow down.

"People think about retiring, some people enjoy keeping on working," Henderson said. "I think it's a good idea to keep on working."

Just as his antique clock keeps on ticking, Waters said he'll keep on clipping.

"It's a good idea to keep working at something," Waters said. "Keep active."

Online Reporter: Sunny Layne

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