Residents use Bobree Barbershop as memorial for Oliver

The windows of Bobree Barbershop, 1209 Frederick Ave., have been decorated with messages after the death of owner Joshua Oliver. The name of the business is an ode to Oliver’s grandfather and grandmother.

Since the passing of Bobree Barbershop owner Joshua Oliver a week ago, residents from in and around St. Joseph have made the business a memorial.

People flocked to the business in the days after Oliver’s sudden passing in a car accident on Nov. 14 to write messages on the windows. Andy Saccaro was among those who wanted to make sure the businessman’s impact on his friends and family was on full display.

“You know what? We’re going to get some glass chalk and we’re going to go down and we’re going to start a memorial,” Saccaro said. “You drive by each day and there’s another saying on the window. We just want to keep it going.”

Aside from those who made a point to write on the windows of Oliver’s business when the news of his passing broke, his impact on those in the community was made increasingly evident on social media platforms. Many posted memories and changed profile pictures to an image that represented Oliver’s business.

“He was always there to help somebody. He was always somebody you could call at any time of the day. He was there. He’ll text you right back. He’ll call you right back. He was always there. That’s probably why he was so impactful to everybody he knew,” said Ryne McNeely, a friend of Oliver’s.

Oliver moved to St. Joseph when he was 4, and in the months before his death, he was able to live out a dream by opening Bobree Barbershop on Frederick Avenue in the spring of 2021. He wanted to keep the business old-school by using reupholstered vintage barber chairs and displaying photos of old barbershops that once served St. Joseph. His tastes were reflected in the layout of the shop and caught the attention of customers and other business owners who got to know him.

“He was just excited with the opportunity to do something different, to bring back something he loved, something from the past, and revive it,” said Edison Derr, co-owner of River Bluff Brewing. “He was so full of life all the time, so to see that in his excitement was awesome.”

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.

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