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Warner Robins salon owner marks 58 years of cutting hair

75-year-old Joellen Knight of Warner Robins lost her eye to shingles, but continues to cut people's hair part-time.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The owner of Classic Hair Designs in Warner Robins says she's been cutting hair for more than 50 years. She says she is the longest-serving hairdresser in the city.

Classic Hair Designs is always full of laughter.

"Oh, I love it. To me, it's like family. They are my family," Joellen Knight said.

75-year-old Knight owns the salon. She says as a teenager, she started cutting people's hair for pageants and prom.

"I was one where you could show me a picture and I could do it," Knight said.

For years, it was easy for her. That was until four years ago.

"When I lost my eye to the shingles, it became a challenge for me. I really wasn't ready to give it up," Knight said.

Knight says wasn't going to let shingles stop her.

"I used to say I could do hair by braille. I was teasing, but it is a challenge being my age; but God's been good to me," Knight said.

She now works with a glass eye.

"I had shingles in my eye, but I've had the shingles four times; and I've had four corona transplants and they didn't take. They just wouldn't take, so we were in a small car accident and they took me to the hospital and I got MRSA in my eye, just after I had surgery, and so they had to take it out immediately because it could've gone to my brain. I didn't have time to think about it. They took my eye out and I came back to work. I didn't skip a beat. I just came back to work," Knight said.

"She has persevered through all of it. She has really had to be down to stay home and not come to work. She worked with an eyepatch over her eye for years before she was able to get her implant," Kristin Medina said.

Medina also cuts hair at Classic Hair Designs. She looks up to Knight like a grandmother.

"I don't know anyone as strong-willed as her. She's a little redheaded spitfire and it's going to take a lot to keep her down," Medina said.

Credit: Molly Jett

Pat Joiner says Knight's been styling her hair since 1975.

"I call her Jo, sometimes I call her Joellen," Joiner said.

Joiner says her personality keeps her coming back.

"We just have fun. We just chitchat, talk, cut up," Joiner said.

And over 58 years, the chitchat turned into laughter.

"Her stories are hilarious. She'll get the whole salon in on it," Medina said.

"The girls keep me going. They give me a run for my money," Knight said.

Knight turns 76 soon, but she doesn't plan to retire anytime soon. She works part-time, doing eight haircuts a day.

At age 19, she owned her first salon. Knight is writing a book about her shingles experience.

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