By Ryan Hill

VACAVILLE (CBS13) – Countless customers have walked through the doors of Barber Joe’s barbershop in downtown Vacaville – some for decades.

The Lopez family including patriarch Joseph Sr., better known as Barber Joe, are barbering icons in Vacaville.

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“He was a part of the community. He wasn’t an elected official,” Joseph Lopez Jr. said.

The shop was first opened by Barber Joe’s father in 1939. Barber Joe started working at the shop in 1954 after serving in the U.S. Navy in WWII, earning a degree from San Jose State University and working other jobs.

“He had a presence. He was first chair. He greeted everyone that walked in,” said Lopez Jr. “That was part of it. No matter what chair you were in. You always got a hello from Joe Sr.”

Barber Joe and his family are a part of three generations of barbers in Vacaville.

His son, Joe Jr., took over the business 20 years ago when his mom passed, and he carried on the business after his father retired at 89.

“I got to work with him. I got to see him 10 hours a day for the last 40 years,” Lopez Jr. said.

Sadly, on Saturday, Barber Joe passed away at 94 years old at an assisted living center.

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“He’ll be dearly missed,” customer Gale Culver said.

After hearing of his passing, many friends and loyal customers paid tribute to the beloved barber who had such an impact on their lives with bouquets of flowers. It’s something that touched the Lopez family, who have meant so much to Vacaville

People made sure to show how much Barber Joe meant to them and to the community.

“Those are teary moments. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. To see that it tugs at your heartstrings to know that people cared,” Lopez Jr. said.

There is a lasting legacy for a man who had a big smile and a passion for caring for others.

Lopez Jr. said he is the last Lopez cutting customer’s hair, but he may not stay in the first chair as long as Barber Joe did.

“I will not be working until my 89th birthday. I will tell you that right now. All things come to an end. I’ll stay as long as I’m willing to stay and cut hair and all of that,” he said. “With my dad’s passing, I realized there’s a lot of life left to live. It doesn’t have to be while you’re working.”

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The family said they appreciate all of the outpours of support for Joe Sr. Of course, they wish they could’ve had a big celebration for his life for family, friends, and customers but won’t be doing so during the pandemic.