To call Joe Thomas an Acres Homes fixture is an understatement. With the start of a new year, this community legend has passed aaway at 94, leaving a legacy of teaching, cutting heads and raising a powerful, loving family.
A half-century ago Thomas opened Joe’s Barbershop and literally raised mutiple generations of customers who used his services, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, who got his first haircut from the Acres Homes fixture.
“He’s just one of those fixtures in Acres Homes that will be truly missed and very much remembered and touched a lot of people’s lives along with their heads,” said Turner, who continued getting his haircut at Joe’s for several decades.
But haircuts was just part of the Joe Thomas experience. The experience of family was just as powerful.
“My father did a lot of things,” said Thomas’ daughter and local playwright/educator Norma Jo Thomas. “People were saying, ‘Oh my God, Joe cut my hair when I was a little kid.’ My dad is Joe. My grandfather was Joe. And my grandmother was Joe. Every single one of us was reared in this barbershop right here.”
Joe Thomas also raised his grandson Jemiel Thomas in that famous barbershop and passed the trade down to him.
“Ever since I was walking, ever since I was little, I’ve been in this barbershop,” Jemiel Thomas said. “Grandfather used to put kids on the board. That’s the thing they used to use because they were too small to sit in the barber chair.”
“It’s Joe’s and we’ll keep the doors open as long as we can,” Norma Jo Thomas said.
The family said his legacy will live on for generations.
“He was an example. He was a legend,” Joe Thomas’ other daughter, Pamela Thomas, said. “He was a good Christian man.”
The family will continue to celebrate his life and legacy with multple services this weekend: a wake service Friday night and the funeral on Saturday.