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James C. Betts

1934 - 2020
James C. Betts Obituary
(News story) James C. Betts, who won the business of generations to his South Avenue barber shop, died Thursday in Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center. He was 85.

His health problems included blood clots in his lungs, his niece Marsha Rahn said. From his intensive care bed, he watched a broadcast of President Trump's rally at the Huntington Center. He died more than an hour afterward.

"He had his Trump hat on," his niece said. "He was all about Trump. He would have been down at the rally if he didn't get sick."

As his family visitors departed, he said, "'If you could go downtown and bring him back, I'd really like to meet him.'"

Mr. Betts retired several years ago from Jim's Barber Shop. His wife, Charlotte, a graduate of the Toledo Beauty Academy, was a beautician and saw her customers in the same building.

Each built a distinct clientele, yet "they were so wonderful together," his niece said.

"He liked to cut hair," his niece said. "He always did say he met a lot of great people in cutting hair. He got one on one and got to know [them], personal. He got to see little kids grow up - the same people he had for many years."

He'd grown up in the neighborhood, and he liked talking about the history, "about the good old days," his sister Mary Ann Fravor said.

He endured changes in hair style, telling his sister that he added a surcharge for some customers who let their hair grow.

"He knew they wouldn't be back for months," his sister said.

Mr. Betts kept his barber license in force from July, 1963, through August, 2016, according to a state of Ohio online database.

He was a graduate of the barber college formerly on Superior Street downtown.

He was born Oct. 4, 1934, in Bellevue, Ohio, to Mary and Frank Betts. He was a graduate of Libbey High School and served stateside in the Air Force.

A highlight in recent years was the Honor Flight he took to Washington, accompanied by his son Benjamin.

"He was so proud of that and said it was one of the most wonderful things, to go on that," his niece said.

He lived in South Toledo, and an American flag flew from a prominent spot in his large side yard. He planted trees and ornamental shrubs near the flagpole.

"He was into gardening big time," his sister said.

He also was a birdwatcher and a fan of wind chimes.

"He loved all wind chimes and to hear them clang when it was windy," his niece said.

He and the former Charlotte Salazar married in February, 1958. She died April 30, 2009. They were preceded in death by son Christopher.

Surviving are his sons Benjamin and Cletus Betts; sisters Mary Ann Fravor and Diane Clay, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Monday at the W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home, where funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Jan. 12, 2020
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