Ox Roast Preview: Estep named grand marshal

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Ed Estep (front row, center), this year’s West Jefferson Ox Roast parade grand marshal, is flanked by his wife of 54 years, Betty, and his daughter, Carol Langermeier. Standing behind him are: (from left) Tabitha Geiger, a member of his staff at Mr. Ed’s Barbershop; his granddaughter, Rachel Estep; Jenn Napier, another member of his staff; and his son, Jeff Estep.

“I like the people of West Jefferson. They make you feel right at home,” said Ed Estep, who has called West Jefferson home for over six decades.

Born in Kentucky in 1932, he and his family moved to a farm in Hilliard when he was 8 and then to West Jefferson when he was in junior high. He attended West Jefferson schools until his junior year, at which time he joined the Air Force to serve in the Korean War. Among other awards, his unit received a Presidential Citation.

“I got my education over there in Korea,” said Estep, who received an honorary high school diploma a couple of years ago.

Upon returning home from his military service, he enrolled in barber college. At that time, new barbers were required to complete an 18-month apprentice-ship. Estep fulfilled that requirement in New Rome before setting up shop in a space beside Parsons Hardware in 1954. He moved the business in 1975 to 64 E. Main St. where it has remained ever since.

“Many of us have had our hair cut by him at least once in the last 54 years that he has been in business as Mr. Ed’s Barbershop,” said Jeff Pfeil, president of the West Jefferson Community Association at the group’s Aug. 14 steak fry and planning meeting.

Over the years, Estep has served his community not only as a businessman, but also through civic service. His father got him involved in the Community Association in 1954; he went on to serve for many years on the group’s Ox Roast Commission.

He has been a member of Kiwanis, the Optimists Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. He was a Boy Scout master, served on village council, and was a member of the board of public affairs.

One of his great loves is football, specifically West Jefferson football.

“Since 1954, he has only missed two games, once being in the hospital and once for his daughter Carol’s wedding rehearsal dinner,” Pfeil told the Community Association crowd.

For his devotion, the Roughriders have named Estep Fan of the Year not once, but twice—in 1967 and again in 2003.

“Football is something I’ve always liked. When I was in school, I don’t think they won a ball game. They’ve made up the difference since then,” Estep said.

Now, it’s time for the community to do the cheering as Estep rides as grand marshal in the 2008 Ox Roast parade.

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