William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews Editor
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (Gloucestercitynews.net)--After 54 years of cutting hair longtime hairstylist/barber Chalie Huber, aka Chalie "The Clip" is retiring. Chalie, has been operating his business Shapes and Forms Hairstyling at 110 S. Broadway since 1975 or for 45 years. Chalie with his wife Michaeline (date unknown)
Chalie would still be working if it wasn't for getting sick. Ten weeks ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. He said he had persistent fatigue and weakness, trouble breathing. After going through a battery of test he was diagnosed with the malignant progressive disease in which bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. These suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms.
Chalie spend several weeks confined to the Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, receiving massive doses of chemo. He is now at home receiving treatment as an out-patient. "I am able to walk indoors with a cane now and do some normal chores. I went through three weeks of intensive chemo; that did me in. I am waiting to get another bone marrow biopsy to determine further treatments. I been home now for three weeks and getting stronger each day."
According to the Mayo Clinic, many types of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children. Other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults. Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don't function properly. Leukemia care at Mayo Clinic
Chalie's father who operated a shop at 359 S. Broadway
Chalie was born and raised in Gloucester City. A Gloucester High alumni he began his training to be a barber when he was in 10th/11th grade at the Cal-Mir Barber School. Afterwards he worked for his father, Charles Sr., who owned a barber shop at 359 S. Broadway. "I worked at his shop after school and on Saturdays. I passed the state Board for my barber license before graduating from Gloucester High in 1964."
Ronnie "Pidge" DeClemente (left) and Chalie aboard the USS Arlington. Pidge, who was from Camden City, and Chalie didn't know each other until they met on the ship. (1960's photo)
He served a hitch in the United States Navy stationed at bases located at the Great Lakes, Ill, San Diego, Calif., Norfolk, VA and 19 months aboard the USS Arlington AGMR-2 (Comm-ship) in the South China Sea off Viet Nam. He furthered his education at the P&B Beauty School graduating in 1974. He taught at the school for 18 months.
"I worked at the Erlton shop in Cherry Hill after my tour of service doing men's hair styling (1968) then at "the Razors Edge" salon in Oaklyn. I returned to my fathers shop when he took ill. I converted his barber shop into a hair styling salon (1970). Around the same time collaborating with Frank Anello (Gentleman's Den) and his (Beautician) friend Anthony, we learned how to do body waves and perms."
Gloucester City had many barber shops during the period that Huber was starting his career in the trade. Some of the names that come to mind include: Pete Pelligrino, (Monmouth Street) Pete Sessa (N. Broadway), Tony Matrone, (Market Street), Chris Davis (S. Broadway), brothers Frank Anello and Bob Anello, Louie Ceraballo (King Street) Sanitary Steve (3rd & Market Street.) Fred Luisi (3rd Street) Jim McGlinchey (Broadway & Hudson). Nick Casto Market Street. Every barber shop in the city was closed on Wednesday and Sunday and opened the rest of the week. None of those barbers had haircuts by appointment. Their customers would walk in off the street and sit and wait until those before them got their haircut.
In the 60's, Chalie re-activated an old Union Chapter "Local Barbers of South Jersey #1" and held meetings at his father's shop to try and get these barbers to socialize and stop bickering about haircut prices. Pete Pelligrino was elected president, Bob Anello vice president, Chalie Huber Jr. secretary, Tony Matrone treasurer. It was successful for about two yrs. Then membership dwindled (mainly due to deaths).
When Chalie was starting his business he was the first barber in Gloucester City to offer his customers hair cuts by appointments. "In 1971 I think I was the first to start appointments at a barber/stylist salon. It didn't go well at first. It really took a year or so to be accepted. When I moved to my present location at 110 So. Broadway, in 1975 I went to almost strictly by appointments.
Wayne Riddell worked with Chalie for 29 years (CNBNews file photo sic 1982)
Working next to Chalie for many years was his employee and friend Wayne Riddell. "I had many stylists helping me during this time but Wayne was the best. He stayed with me for 29 years. My wife Michaeline worked at the shop as a receptionist from opening until our first baby was born in 1981."
The Hubers have three children; Charlie, Chrissie and Alex.
Chalie could shoot a mean came of pool. He played in the Gloucester City Pool League and was captain of several teams. Besides shooting pool, Chalie likes fishing, and golf.
Asked about how many customers he serviced every four to six weeks he said, "I think at one time back in the eighties I had a customer base of 600 clients. They weren't all monthly, but a lot were. Some of those clients included mayors, city councilmen, police and police chiefs, firemen, freeholders, municipal clerks, congressmen, state legislators and people from all walks of life.
Asked to name some of the funniest customers he had Chalie said, "I hate to point out anyone in particular, because all were like friends and family to me. But I always count on the following individuals to do something or say something to make me laugh. They included Mike Bowe, Craig Carpenter, Bob Bevan, Jim Little, "Big Daddy"Greg Conklin, George & Bill Cleary, and John Azzari, just to name a few and I left plenty out. My cohort Wayne was always a source of entertainment."
"Now that the shop is closed I can't believe how much support and love I'm getting from my former clients. I am truly blessed by the prayers and donations that keep coming in. I'll certainly miss the shop and camaraderie that we all shared. God bless them all !"