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Published: Tuesday, 2/20/2007

Meticulous Port Clinton barber offered camaraderie

GRAYTOWN, Ohio - David Kersten, 50, a barbershop owner who cut hair for 30 years in Port Clinton, died Sunday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo, after a heart attack.

Mr. Kersten was a founder and co-owner of the Hair Doc, a small men's barbershop on Fulton Street in Port Clinton with three chairs and two barbers.

The shop is known in town as a place to not only get a haircut, but catch up on local news and hear a good story. The reputation grew, in part, because of Mr. Kersten's friendly, easygoing personality, his wife, Lois, said. "He was a good listener, and very easy to talk to," she said. "People would come in to just sit and talk - not even for a haircut."

He opened the shop in 1983 with co-owner Cindy Duncan, a fellow 1975 graduate of Oak Harbor High School. They also were co-workers at the Country Gentleman barbershop in Port Clinton, where Mr. Kersten first began cutting hair in the 1970s.

Mr. Kersten cut the hair of several generations of Port Clinton families over the years. Ted Petersen, whose father, Wilbur, and son, Eric, were customers as well, said he sat in Mr. Kersten's barber chair every third Friday at 10:30 a.m. for nearly 23 years.

"He was really meticulous in his work," Mr. Petersen recalled. "He wanted to make sure everyone got a good haircut."

Mr. Kersten also wanted his customers' time in the chair to be enjoyable, he said. "You could talk about anything," Mr. Petersen said. "We used to tell stories and jokes, and he would laugh so hard he'd have to put the shears and comb down."

When he picked up his shears, he was a perfectionist, his wife said. Mrs. Duncan recalled how Mr. Kersten regularly devoted as much as half an hour to a customer to ensure that he would be pleased with the haircut.

Mr. Kersten lived in Graytown in the home where he grew up. After high school, he went on to graduate from the former Toledo Barber College. He was an avid golfer, and enjoyed spending time with relatives at the family's cottage in Ontario, Canada, where he went hunting and fishing twice a year.

Another one of Mr. Kersten's hobbies was woodworking. He built cabinets, mantels, a deck, and once even a barn, his wife said, and was as much a perfectionist with his woodwork and he was with a head of hair.

"He was such a perfectionist in everything he did," Mrs. Kersten said. "He felt that if you can't do it well - don't do it."

Surviving are his wife, Lois Kersten; son, Michael Kersten; stepdaughter, Laura Nowak; brother, Ron Kersten; sister, Jan Cassity, and two granddaughters.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today in the Robinson-Walker Funeral Home, Genoa. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in St. Peter Lutheran Church, Martin.

The family suggests tributes to the American Heart Association or St. Peter Lutheran Church.

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