Carolyn Miller of Windsor retires after 52 years of cutting hair in Northern Colorado
January 7, 2017
After half a century of styling hair, Carolyn Miller doesn't have room in her clientele book's contact pages anymore. Names, phone numbers and addresses are tightly scrawled across the calendar pages and margins.
When Miller got her cosmetology license in 1965 from a cosmetology school in Greeley, she didn't think it would be her long-term career.
"I started because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life," she said from her home. "I wasn't college material, so I thought I'd try cosmetology. It stuck."
Through marriage and raising three girls, through countless "it" hairstyles, Miller stuck to being a stylist for 52 years. She learned to execute beehives, then poodle cuts, then bobs. She retired last week.
Miller said the popular style of the times were easily determined by whatever the respective president's wife was wearing, until the popular influences switched to celebrities.
Miller started cutting hair in a salon in Fort Morgan and since has styled hair at several shops in Windsor, most recently at the Windsor Hair Shoppe at 229 N. 7th St.
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Before she realized it, Miller said Windsor grew from a one-stoplight town, and the salon culture changed.
"Ladies always would come in for a wash and set with curlers under the blow dryers," she said. "Now, the style has changed and women style their hair at home. They come in only every four to six weeks."
Still, some of Millers clients still enjoy the old fashioned set and come in weekly, including her client Jacki Boon, who has been getting set and styles from Miller for 35 years.
"She was always very nice and caring and did such a good job," Boon said. "I will miss her very much."
Many of Miller's clients have followed her through her many shops. She still has more than 30 clients who see her on a regular basis.
"I don't know if they wanted to hear that I was retiring," Miller said. "I told them I'm retiring, and they said, 'Are you really? Are you, really, really retiring?' "
Barb Erickson admits to being one of the clients who is hesitant about seeing a new stylist.
Erickson has been a client of Miller's since 2005, after she moved to Fort Collins from outside Atlanta.
"I asked her, with how she highlights my hair, 'Could you give my new stylist your recipe?' " Erickson said.
Erickson said it's not only the way Miller perfectly cuts and highlights her look, but how she listens and developed a friendship.
"I've always loved that girl," Erickson said. "She's like a sister to me because I could tell her anything and I knew she would keep it under her hat. Kind of like a doctor aught to be."
Now that she has finished, Miller plans to spend time with her six grandchildren and her many hobbies, which include sewing, knitting and gardening.
Although she won't be styling her clients' hair anymore, Miller said she plans to keep in contact with them.
"All my ladies are my friends."