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Veteran, Barber Reflects On Life

November 7, 2018

Army veteran, former barber, and Wetzel County resident Sam Lively was born July 28, 1927. He sat down with the Wetzel Chronicle recently and shared some of his memories and lessons he has learned through his decades of life. The following is what we learned...

Lively was one of 12 children and graduated from Smithfield High School in the 1940s. He worked at Wallace's grocery store in Folsom for four years, 48 hours a week for $27. He was then drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Lively was drafted for two years.

The first day Lively was home from the draft the superintendent from the railroad called and asked if Lively would want to work for the railroad since he learned telegraphy while in the Army. Lively later decided the railroad wasn't a good job, however, so he decided to travel to Pittsburgh to study to become an electrician.

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Sam Lively said he thinks he has lived a beautiful life. Here he stands in his barbershop where he cut hair for decades.

However, once Lively moved to Pittsburgh, he discovered the school was over-enrolled. It was suggested he attend nearby barber school. Lively was told since the school was a government program, some would enroll in school, receive their first check, and then find another job. He ended up attending the school for a year and gained his license.

He just quit cutting hair in 2016.

Lively said he loved the job of cutting hair, and he knew everyone in the area. He said he worked as a barber for 51 years. He is now 91-years-old and quit cutting hair at 89.

Despite retiring from his barber job, Lively said he still works. He still mows his own lawn and only just recently started having the road bank cut by someone else.

Lively didn't get married until he was 45-years-old and divorced at 75. He married a woman with two children - a boy who was three and a little girl who was nine-months-old. Lively married the children's mother after her husband died due to a truck accident in Germany, during the war. The boy grew up and attended West Virginia University, becoming a doctor. He now lives in Florida. The girl attended Fairmont State and earned a degree in Medical Record Technology. Her first job was in a hospital in Huntington, W.Va. After she was there a very short time, she asked Lively if he would allow her to go to school to be a nurse because she didn't like the job she had. She attended WVNCC and went to work as a nurse. She also lives in Florida now.

Lively said he now has one living brother who lives in Clarksburg. He said his brother has lung cancer. Lively explained the rest of his siblings died in their 60s and 70s. He said he doesn't have any relatives close but talks to his step-son and step-daughter often. He said he is very proud of both of them, as well as his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Lively said he has someone who takes him wherever he wants to go.

Lively said he can't remember things like he used to. He said he believes a person can live too long. However, Lively stated he has always seen the better side of things, and that's what he thinks has kept him going. He said he thinks he has lived a beautiful life.



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