By Kelli Barnes
WOODVILLE – Always known for his keen sense of humor and with a joke at the ready, Claude Gulley, local barber in Tyler County is officially retiring after serving the community more than 50 years. “I had no desire to go to college,” said Gulley.
“Trade school and becoming a barber has been good to me and my family and I have Tyler County to thank for that,” he said.
Claude raised two children, Amy and Chad, with his wife Ricki of almost 51 years, right here in Tyler County. Now he has eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“We are planning to move closer to our kids and grandkids to make a lot more good memories with whatever time God has allotted for us,” said Gulley. “May God be with us as we embark on our new journey, but our door is always welcome and open to family and friends. Thank you again Tyler County for all the wonderful friendships and memories. I would love to be remembered as a person that treated people the way I would like to be treated.”
Over the years, Gulley watched hairstyles come and go. His favorites are a regular men’s haircut and a high and tight, but he is well-known for his flat-tops. He comes from a family of barbers: dad Thurman Gulley, uncle Hunter Gulley and brother Gary Gulley.
Gulley moved to Chester at age six, began school in Woodville in seventh grade, graduating in 1969. Next, he attended barber school in Humble and began working with his dad at the Woodville motel for a few months, before they poured the slab in 1970 where the shop still sits today. “I want the public to know the shop will remain open to serve Tyler County. The current barber, Christy, is there to serve the community.”
There is no way to know the number of haircuts Gulley has done over the years, but like so many, Jacques and Leza Blanchette testify they have a son who will only let Claude cut his hair.
“All haircuts were special and memorable in their own way,” said Gulley.
How many of you can remember waiting in Gulley’s Barber Shop for his chair to “get open”?