Anthony Mancinelli, the world's oldest practicing barber, has passed away following complications from his jaw cancer. He was 108, but had never retired and had been cutting hair for 96 years.
Born in Montemilone, Basilicata, Italy, Mancinelli had emigrated too New York with his family in 1919 and started sweeping floors at a barbershop to help support his family. At the age of 12, he started cutting hair and has been at it since, briefly attending grade school in Newburgh, but never graduating.
He was named as the 'World's Oldest Barber' by Guinness World Records at the age of 96 and at the time of his 108th birthday this year, was still working eight hours a day and five days a week.
When he first started in 1923, Calvin Coolidge was the president of the country, and he charged 25 cents for his services. He opened Anthony's Barbershop of Newburgh in 1930 and owned it for 40 years before moving on and working at other shops. Most recently, he was working for Fantastic Cuts in New Windsor, where he charged $19 for a haircut.
His son Robert, 82, told CNN that he "just loved his job" and was healthy most of his life until he was diagnosed with jaw cancer in February. He said that for about six weeks before his death his father did not feel well and had to rest, but had no plans of quitting.
He had persisted through difficult times before. His wife had passed away 15 years ago, while his other son died 36 years ago, and he had continued to cut hair for other relatives.
Robert said his father had been getting tired and weak, but retained hope of getting back to work at some point. "Everybody loved him. He's known worldwide," he said, adding that for the first time in his life he would have to find someone else to cut his hair.
Jane Dinezza, the owner of Fantastic Cuts, paid tribute to him after his death. "He's a legend," she said. "One of the TV stations asked who would work in his chair now. I didn't think of it then, but could anybody fill that chair? No."
She said she would like to leave his chair open as a memorial to him.