Lynnfield, MA — James Anthony Mello, “Jim the Barber," 87, of Lynnfield, died on Thursday, November 28, 2013, at the Mass General Hospital in Boston, after a brief illness. He was the devoted husband of Virginia (Scalise) Mello. Jim was born in Peabody on November 19, 1926, and was the son of the late Christiano and Mary Mello. He was educated and raised on Northend Street in Peabody, before moving to Lynnfield 58 years ago.
For 60 years, up until his illness three months ago, Jim was the proprietor and sole barber in Jim’s Barber Shop in Gardner Park, on Margin Street, Peabody, around the corner from Northend Street, where he grew up and where most of his siblings continued to live for many years. He loved working in his garden, cooking and baking his Christmas cookies to share with family and friends. For years, he took his family to Sebago Lake, Maine, for summer vacations, and later, to the Loon Mountain area in New Hampshire. Jim had a warm, teasing sense of humor and a keen wit, which his family and customers thoroughly enjoyed. The term “family man” epitomized Jim. He was defined by his devotion to family, from his parents and siblings, to his wife, to his many nieces and nephews, mostly in his relationship with his children and grandchildren whom he loved with all his heart.
Jim gave haircuts to three generations of loyal customers, some of whom have been with him for over 50 years. In all of his years, he missed few days of cutting hair, so many of his customers have been waiting these last three months for him to return to the shop. His small, 50s-style shop, where he still offered $5 haircuts, is an institution in Peabody. Since Jim’s illness, Jon Lapore, a customer since childhood, will be taking over the barber shop, keeping it open for Jim’s customers to continue in Jim’s tradition. Jon’s “dream come true” will keep up the legacy of Jim’s Barber Shop.