By Shari Harris, Publisher
Hair By Kathy has been a vital part of Kathy Hooper’s life for most of four decades. After working 13 years at the Rawlings factories in Licking, Kathy Hooper went to Beauty School and graduated in 1984. There was more than a little competition at that time; when she graduated, there were 14 other active hairdressers in the area.
Hooper’s 80-plus-year-old grandfather, Joe Murray, helped her build a beauty shop in her basement, and she’s been busy since then. Her motto when she first opened her business, says Hooper, “was to try to make everybody happy.” To still be in business after all those years, she must be doing something right.
Hair By Kathy offers perms, color and cuts, providing all hair care to the whole family. The business is at her home so her hours are flexible, making it convenient for her customers and for Hooper. She’s even traveled to her customers at times, when their health prevented them from coming to her shop. Hours range from 7 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., and she accepts walk-ins. But calling for an appointment will ensure she’s available. Hair by Kathy is at 19071 East Hwy. 32, just east of Licking, or call 573-674-3123 for an appointment.
“Leave a message if I don’t answer, and I’ll get back with you,” assures Hooper.
Her love for the job began early in life. Her aunt, Mary Lee (Bailie) Holt, was a hairdresser, and as a child, Kathy spent a lot of time at her shop. She knew then that she wanted to be a beautician when she grew up.
Kathy Hooper was born as Kathy Bailie, the first baby delivered by Dr. B.J. Myers in his Licking practice. He hadn’t opened his clinic in Licking yet, and she was born at his brother’s clinic in Newburg. It would take a few years to realize her hairdressing ambition. As an adult, Kathy started working the night shift at Rawlings Plant 7, and worked at Lee’s Factory and Brown Shoe Factory in Houston during layoffs from Rawlings. Eventually she moved to Rawlings Plant 3 on the day shift, where she worked with her mother.
When not at her shop, Kathy manages to keep busy. She has a lifelong love of music, fostered by her relatives. She explains that the Bailies all played music. Recently, Hooper has helped with karaoke on Friday nights at Hooves & Boots in Edgar Springs. Unfortunately, due to the new Phelps County COVID restrictions, that will be temporarily put on hold.
Having more than one iron in the fire is nothing new for Hooper. Despite rotator cuff surgery in June, she works part-time for her son at his business between Houston and Cabool, TOG Welding Services. Over the years, she helped organize downtown festivities on Rodeo weekend and helped the Alumni Association with the Alumni Banquet for two or three years. Most importantly to Hooper, she devoted her time to taking care of her husband and her mother when their health was failing.
The constant through the last decades has been her salon. Hooper can still be found there, cutting hair for men, women and children. “I’ll probably be here most of my life,” she says.