Family and Friends remember the life and legacy of Augusta’s oldest beautician

Richmond County

AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) – While most of us look forward to retirement, 90-year-old Mary Collins continued working as a beautician at Jay’s Place Barber and Beauty Shop up until one week before she passed. Newschannel 6 got the chance to speak with her family members and some of her customers about the legacy she left behind.

“Ms. Mary has done my momma’s hair, she did my wife’s hair, and she did my daughter’s hair, that’s three generations.”

Mary Collins wasn’t your average beautician.

“Being around Ms. Mary was not like being around any other beautician, it was like being around a legend,” said John Milton.

Milton is the owner of Jay’s Place Barber and Beauty Shop, located off of Olive Road. He says a friend referred Collins to come and work at his shop.

“Soon as she came in, I was like no I don’t think I’m talking to the right person, she said I’m the one that called about doing some hair, so I want to come in and work in your shop and do some hair, do you mind,” said Milton.

Milton took that chance with Collins employing her at the age of 86.

“I gave her a key and all the ladies would be in here having fun, I knew Ms. Mary was here when I’d here B.B king playing,” said Milton.

For her customers, Collins was more than just a beautician.

“Ms. Mary helped me with my kids in ways that people will never understand,” said Elease Rhodes, a longtime customer of Mary Collins.

But now she will be missed and not just for her skills behind the chair.

“Even if it was other people’s customers we still laugh and talk and jive, she’s truly going to be missed, I know she’s gone be missed by me. So, sleep on Mary, you didn’t look your age,” said Mattie Jordan, another long-time customer of Collins.

Collins was also an inspiration. She passed down her love for doing hair to her now Master barber grandson.

“Me growing up, my grandmother did my hair, and at the same time I just always seen her happy, and she loved what she did so I was like, I want to do that,” said DC. Murray.

Collins also leaves behind a granddaughter, who’s been inspired in more ways than one.

“No matter what we’ve been through, we could always call her our rock, she would always change our minds no matter what we were going through, and I’m truly blessed to be able to call her my grandma,” said Tania Collins-Walker.

And Collins’ legacy will live on at Jay’s Place Barber and Beauty Shop. The owner, John Milton, tells NewsChannel 6 that they will keep a picture of Mary hanging up at her station, and he also says they don’t plan to fill her spot anytime soon.

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