Theodore J. Wies Sr., 87, barber for 70 years, cut Mencken's hair

November 23, 1996

Theodore J. Wies Sr., who was a barber for 70 years, died Monday of heart failure at his home in Somerset Manor apartment complex in Towson. He was 87.

Mr. Wies, still cutting hair a week before he died, learned his trade as a youth in the East Baltimore neighborhood where he was born and raised.

Beginning his professional career in a West Baltimore shop, Mr. Wies regularly cut the hair of Baltimore newspaperman and author H. L. Mencken, whose distinctive coif was meticulously combed with a down-the-middle part.

Calling himself the "Master," or "The Best," Mr. Wies' career spanned the era of 1920s bobbed hair for women to the patent leather look for men inspired by Rudolph Valentino to the styles of today.

He remained, however, a devotee of the razor cut and what he called the "classic cut," with its tapered edge in the back and hair parted on the side.

In 1930, he opened the Publex barbershop at 25th Street and Greenmount Avenue, He introduced a men's hairstyling salon in 1961 when he opened the Reisterstown Plaza Barber Shop. In 1970, he opened Men's Hairstyling in the 500 block of York Road, closing the shop in 1988.

Mr. Wies, known for his gentlemanly demeanor, enjoyed cooking, and collecting and restoring antique clocks and furniture.

He and Mary Gove were married in 1929. She died in October.

He is survived by two sons, Theodore J. Wies Jr. of Cockeysville and Richard A. Wies of Timonium; a daughter, Mary Wies van den Berg of Timonium; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Thursday.

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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