A celebrated barber who cut hair for members of Congress for more than half a century is officially laying down his scissors.
Joe Quattrone, 88, trimmed and shaved on the ground floor of the House Rayburn Building for 51 years for myriad elected officials, including former presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush during their time in Congress. Ford even continued to visit after he became vice president, and his family invited “Joe Q” to his funeral.
Quattrone, originally from Calabria, Italy, is planning to pack it in to spend more time with his family in North Carolina. Quattrone has lately been in ill health and Rita, his wife of 65 years, died last year.
“What can I say? I’m going to miss it,” he told Roll Call wistfully. “But it’s time for me to go after 51-and-a-half years.”
When Quattrone began barbering in 1971, a cut cost 75 cents and the Capitol was reeling after the far left terrorist organization Weather Underground exploded a bomb in the Senate bathroom.
House members from both parties agreed that visiting Quattrone’s shop means entering one of the last bipartisan spaces on Capitol Hill.
“It’s a warm, embracing place where you put the politics aside and you just enjoy some good company with a friend who’s been around for a long time,” GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise told the paper of Quattrone’s barber’s chair. “You can always run down there and count on Joe to be there with a friendly smile,”