Honoured by his family.
When my Grandmother asked me to help write something in my Grandfather’s memory, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was proud to have the chance to keep his memory going, yet I was also afraid I wouldn’t be able to honour him the way he deserved. He was such a great and strong man. How can anyone put in words his essence. This is a man who was my mentor and my rock. The one I went to for advice and cried on his shoulder. A hug and kiss on the cheek was all that was needed from him to make all your worries go away. His loving and caring eyes said a million words when silence was needed. He always knew exactly what to say or what to do. So my dear sweet Grandfather here I go… I will try my best to honour you with this story.
How does one put in 500 words a man as wonderful as Archie Parisien. He was a well know barber for over 46 years in North Bay. There was not one person who spoke of him without absolute respect and admiration, and still until this day, almost three years after his passing, the newspaper still publishes stories in his memory, and our family still get phone calls reminiscing about this wonderful man. He started off as a young man who worked in Englehart for Ontario Northland Railway to opening up a barber shop that will be remembered for generations to come. When he retired from his barber shop in 2001, the new owner kept the name, because everyone knew and loved Archie’s Barber shop. His accomplishments were many and he spoke fondly of them all, but the 20 years he was a member of the Widdifield Lions Club were his favorite memories. He was an active and dedicated member, because he loved to give back to the community. My Grandfather had a heart of gold.
He loved to cut hair and loved the people he served. He had a true passion for what he did. Many people walked through his doors from politicians to actors such as Michael J. Fox to professional NBA players. He also had many faithful customers whom he loved as family. It would not be unusual to see five generations of a family getting their hair cut. He would go to the military base every two weeks to cut hair, and also went to the local jail. I would love to watch him cut hair….the swift, delicate movements of his hands, and the smile on his face. I was always proud of my Grandfather and loved when people acknowledged me as his granddaughter. His passion for hair was so great he did a barberthon in 1967 that won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records for cutting hair for 64 hours non-stop. He made the Guinness Book again in 1975 when he cut hair for 83 hours and 10 minutes non-stop. He was supported by many during these baberthons. People would line up on the sidewalk waiting to have their hair cut. Others would bring food and drinks and entertainment/music. At one time there was a street party with people dancing on the streets to bagpipes and other music. The money he made was given to charity.
Of all the passions he had, his family was the most important part of his life. He married the love of his life, Yvonne, in 1953 .They had a baby girl named Pauline in 1958. They were the two most important women in his life. I, Chantale, was born in 1975 and now he had three precious girls who loved him dearly. My brother Matthew was born in 1985 and now he had a little boy who he could bring out fishing and do “boy stuff” with. My daughter Hailey was a precious gift my Grandfather loved. She was brought to our family in 2005, and he simply adored her. He would always call her his “little Kaley”….I guess he liked the name Kaley better then Hailey. We all laughed and Hailey didn’t seem to care about the name change, either.
May 29, 2010, heaven truly gained an angel. We miss you as every day passes and keep you close to our hearts. There will never be a day that goes by that you are not thought of. You will forever live in the hearts of family, friends and the people of North Bay.