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Doug Hoover, the barber who recently retired after 50 years, suffers fall, broken hip

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 1/17/18

Sometimes, retirement isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Doug Hoover.

Hoover, longtime owner of the Olmsted Plaza Barber Shop in Lower Swatara Township, closed up shop for …

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Doug Hoover, the barber who recently retired after 50 years, suffers fall, broken hip

Posted

Sometimes, retirement isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Doug Hoover.

Hoover, longtime owner of the Olmsted Plaza Barber Shop in Lower Swatara Township, closed up shop for good and retired Dec. 30 after cutting hair there for more than 50 years. He then had five whole days of retirement before breaking his hip.

“I got to celebrate the holidays, anyway,” he noted.

“We called each other on New Year’s Day,” said Kate Donley, Hoover’s sister-in-law who lives in Texas. “I talk to them every week. We were asking Doug to retire for awhile. Doug just wouldn’t retire and finally, he did.”

Hoover retired because his barber shop, one of the plaza’s last surviving businesses, will be demolished sometime this year. Directly across from his former shop is a four-story 87-room Comfort Inn & Suites Harrisburg Airport hotel under construction, where other businesses also are planned. Initially, Hoover planned to move his business to a new location and keep working after the current shop is torn down, but he later changed his mind.

Late on Jan. 4 — Day 5 of retirement — Hoover was taking his dog for a walk outside of his condominium in Lower Paxton Township.

Suddenly, he tripped over a gate, gashing his head and, as he suspected, breaking his right hip.

“I was in some pain,” he acknowledged.

Nonetheless, the beloved community barber didn’t bother with an ambulance. Instead, wife Pat drove him to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center that night, where he would remain for the next three days.

As it turned out, the gash on Hoover’s head didn’t require stitches, but his hip definitely required repair. Surgery was scheduled the following day at the medical center. The operation took around an hour and a half, during which doctors placed three screws in Hoover’s hip, he said.

“They didn’t tell me how long it will take to recover,” Hoover noted. However, doctors did tell him that he likely won’t need any physical therapy after healing. He next sees a doctor Jan. 23.

Obviously, Hoover’s retirement plans have been put on hold for now. Last month, he told the Press & Journal that he planned to visit family out of state after he retired. Sister-in-law Donley said she remains “very close” to Hoover and his wife, who is her sister. In fact, it was Donley, a York County native, who introduced the couple to each other when Donley briefly worked as a barber in Hoover’s shop in the 1970s, she said.

For now, Hoover is getting around fairly well using a cane. The pain is manageable. When told that he seemed to be taking the situation well, he responded, “What else can you do? My wife is taking very good care of me.”