Emory Wilber Vance
  • Kent Historical Society
    P.O., Box 663
    Kent, OH 44240

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Emory Wilber Vance Obituary


Memories & Candles

“During my childhood I recall visiting with Aunt Eva and Uncle Emory at the old home place in Caldwell, WVA. The main thing I remember is that there...Read More »
1 of 10 | Posted by: Kaye Lee El-Najjar - Manassas, VA

“In the short time I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Emory, I recognized what a special man he was...a wonderful gentle spirit with a...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Karen Otto - Chicago, IL

“My sons, now 31 and 27 always got their hair cut by "Vance" it was always a pleasure to go in and chat. Even after my sons grew up, if I were...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Dee - Kent, OH - Friend

“Seeing this picture of Emory instantly took me back to my years of attending church with Emory and Eva, Linda, Mike, Megan, and Sarah at Kent Church...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Rachel Adams - Nashville, TN

“Linda, Our sympathies go out to you and your family. May your loving memories of your father, sustain you in this difficult time. ”
5 of 10 | Posted by: Bob & Mary Hunt - Fairlawn

“From my earliest memories some 60 years ago down to this moment, Uncle Emory and Aunt Eva have been important role models for me. From Caldwell to...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Teresa Sorrells - GA

“So sorry for your loss. I know what an important part of your family he was and how close he was to Kara and Ben. May your many happy memoires give...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Donna Hess - Kent, OH - friend

“I just know that Uncle Emory always had a smile on his face, he always seemed to be laughing about something that was going on, and I never once saw...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: Libby Long - Shawsville, VA

“Uncle Emory was a awesome Uncle who could make you laugh and see the best out of any situation. He was a rock for the family. I remember watching him...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Cynthia Bragg Via - Lynchburg, VA

“I was privileged to be Emory and Eva's pastor for 14 years. During those years, Emory put his scissors to my hair more times than I can count. He...Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: Rev. Bill Dillon - Virginia Beach, VA


Emory W. Vance, 88, a longtime fixture in downtown Kent as owner of Emory's Barber Shop, died peacefully Sunday, April 15th, surrounded by his family at Akron City Hospital. For more than half a century he cut hair at the shop located at 147 South Water St., after moving to Kent in 1959 from his native West Virginia and attending the Riggs Lamar Barber College in Akron. He began working at what was then Murphy's Barber Shop in 1962 and purchased the business in 1987.

As a result of declining health, Emory reluctantly hung up his shears as one of the oldest licensed and practicing barbers in Ohio in July 2011, shuttering one of Kent's oldest continuously operating business establishments. With its original 1919 chairs, sinks and mirrors and unassuming authentic ambiance, in addition to haircuts, Emory's offered a warm and welcoming respite for his customers, friends and numerous colorful characters alike. Known for his friendly and giving nature, modest demeanor, sound advice and subtle wit, Emory was the barber—and often non-judgmental sounding board—for generations of residents in the area, and a loved and respected member of the downtown Kent business community. "Emory is just one of those salt-of-the-earth kind of guys," Paul Braden, owner of Woodsy's Music told a reporter for an article in 2004. "He walks to work and walks home to this day. He's the first guy downtown every morning." Neighbors are said to have set their clocks based on his daily routine.

Emory and his shop was a favorite subject of scores of Kent State photojournalism students and other photographers over the decades and he was often sought out for his insights into Kent's history as observed from his storefront window. Upon his retirement, Emory donated several antique items from his shop for a permanent exhibit at the Kent Historical Society, which was unveiled last fall.

In addition to his talents as a barber, Emory was known as an excellent carpenter and craftsman. His green thumb was also evident in his collection of extraordinarily robust plants that graced his shop's Water Street storefront and his bountiful vegetable garden at his Cuyahoga St. home. He was also a stalwart member of the congregation at the University Church of the Nazarene, (formerly Kent Church of the Nazarene) for nearly 50 years.

Born on July 21, 1923, in Second Creek, Monroe County, WVa, to Arby Franklin and Grace Emma (Scott), Emory is survived by his beloved wife Eva (Long), with whom he celebrated 61 years of marriage on March 31. A loving father devoted to his children and grandchildren, Emory is survived by daughter Linda (Mike) Poinski of Tallmadge, and sons Richard (Donna) of Kent, and Roger (Sherry) of Hillsboro, Va.; grandchildren Megan (Tim Fields) Poinski of Riverdale, Md., Sarah Poinski of Denver, Colo., Jordan of Richmond, Va., Ben (Heather) Kent, and Kara of Kent. He is also survived by his brother Dr. Jimie A. Vance of Medina, and was preceded in death by brother Brown Franklin, of Monticello, Ga.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, April 18th, from 5 to 8 p.m. at S.C. Bissler and Sons Funeral Home, 628 W. Main St., Kent. Funeral services, officiated by Dr. Charles Christian, Pastor will be at Bissler and Sons Funeral Home on Thursday, April 19th, 11 a.m., followed by burial at Standing Rock Cemetery, Kent.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Kent Historical Society, 237 East Main, St., Kent, are encouraged.