FINDLAY — LaVerne “Vern” Lee, a retired popular barber in Findlay who for many years operated his own shop on Crystal Avenue, died Monday of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Bridge Home Health and Hospice. He was 71.
Mr. Lee owned and operated Lee’s Barbershop from 1967 until his retirement in 2004. In that time he cut the hair of thousands of customers, many of whom affectionately knew him as “Clipper.”
“I would call him an old-school barber,” his daughter Karen Lee said. “He was known for his flattops. His customers used to say nobody could do a flattop like he could.”
Before striking out on his own, Mr. Lee worked at Meeker’s Barbershop in Findlay and did a stint cutting hair in Toledo, his daughter said.
He learned his trade at Toledo Barber College, from which he graduated in 1959.
Mr. Lee had a lifelong interest in sports and kept a large baseball card collection. He was a standout athlete at Green Springs High School, from which he graduated in 1958.
He played varsity basketball for three years at the school, which today is Clyde-Green Springs High School, and was named to the Toledo Blade-Toledo Times All Star Selection All Sandusky County Team First League his junior and senior years.
He kept the plaques the newspapers awarded him for the rest of his life. The selections were made by then-Blade sports editor Don Wolfe and Tom Bolger, who held the same post at the Times.
Mr. Lee also was the starting pitcher for his high school’s baseball team who in 1958 pitched a no-hitter against Woodville High School. He also was a varsity high school football player.
In retirement, besides following sports, Mr. Lee enjoyed fishing, mushroom hunting, and playing golf.
Mr. Lee was born in Hopewell Township in Seneca County, the only child of Gladys and Bernard Lee, and grew up in Green Springs. In recent years, he spent much time caring for his mother until her death in July.
His marriages to Judy Rine and Barbara Emery ended in divorce, but he and Barbara remained on close terms after being together for 21 years.
Mr. Lee served in the Army National Guard in the 1960s and belonged to Amvets Post 21 and Disabled Veterans Post 43 in Findlay.
Surviving are his daughters, Karen Lee and Susan Hamilton; sons, Tim and Todd, and six grandchildren.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in Coldren-Crates Funeral Home in Findlay.
The family suggests tributes to Bridge Home Health and Hospice.
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