Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bob Harsha: A good man, a good barber and a beloved community member

A Columbus legend died on May 21 at 5:40 a.m.
For years, Bob Harsha cut men’s hair and beards in his little shop on Pike Avenue, or Main Street as most people think of it. He lived a long and useful life as a barber, both in Montana and on baby aircraft carriers fighting in World War II.
My son and I first met Mr. Bob 22 years ago when we moved to Columbus after I retired from the diplomatic service.
I don’t know how old Bob was then, but I still remember our 4-year-old son stepping into the barber’s chair and sitting on a small padded plank which lay across the chair’s handles.
Mr. Bob asked him to please speak a little louder. It was a gentle reminder that did not embarrass my son but it was a gentle lesson that he would remember: older people deserved both respect and courtesy. He’s never forgotten that early lesson.
I remember Bob telling me how lucky he had been in marrying “a good woman.” He said that a good marriage was the most important thing in his life and Margarite has been everything he could have hoped for.
Bob continued working at the shop and volunteering at Beartooth Manor to cut the older patients’ hair. Every time I visited him in his home, he’d tell me stories of the war, not bragging about it but only as a good reporter would: just the quiet facts.
I and hundreds of others will miss Mr. Bob. I know that if I ever need a heavenly haircut, he’ll be there cutting it for free.

Dave Grimland
Columbus