Barber milestones

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

Frank Limentato, who snipped hair for decades at his Avenue Barbershop, 125 S. Oak Park Ave., retired last Saturday at the age of 77. Frank left Oak Park in 2009 and joined a couple of other barbers in Elmwood Park at a shop named, appropriately enough, Frank's. Limentato grew up in Sicily during World War II and came to this country in 1968.

Meanwhile, a few blocks down the street at his shop in the Oak Park Arms, Emil Messina, Frank's fellow Sicilian, who, at the age of 13 started cutting the hair of G.I.s as they passed through on their way to German during World War II, marked an even more remarkable milestone. He's still cutting hair at the age of 88. In fact, he was cutting hair on his 88th birthday, which also happened to be last Saturday. And he's just as affable as ever.

Congrats to both, and thanks for all those haircuts.

Ken Trainor


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David Hammond  

Posted: May 5th, 2016 3:23 PM

Ed McDevitt, that is an excellent Emil story. I'll have to ask him about it the next time I'm in his chair.

Ubaid Awan  

Posted: May 5th, 2016 12:53 PM

Really wonderful

Ed McDevitt from River Forest  

Posted: January 29th, 2016 12:27 PM

Thanks, Ken Trainor?, for this notice about my own barber, Emil Messina. He's such a treasure and he's always willing to spend the almost 7 minutes it takes to cut my hair while we listen to the opera and bel canto music he has playing all the time in his shop. He told me a story today about his cutting the hair of the American soldiers passing through his town toward the end of WWII. He was, as Ken's story says, 13 at the time. These were Patton's troops and they were bivouacing in the town. Emil noticed that they all needed haircuts, so he went to one of the buildings they had occupied and stood, a short 13-year-old, with his scissors and comb, able only to sign with his scissors that he could cut hair (he didn't speak English). The soldiers ignored him. So he went into the kitchen where he found some Italian-Americans who spoke his language and told them what he could do. Suddenly he was flooded with customers. They wanted to pay money, but he declined cash because there was nothing to buy in his town - the shops were empty. So he got a large sack and had them put food in the bag to take to his family. The bag quickly filled up and a career was born.

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