Floyd was born January 29, 1898 in Lexington, Missouri, the son of Tommy and Lula Boldridge. He was the grandson of Matt Boldridge, founder of the Gem Barber Shop on 11th street. He married Virginia “Virgie” Johnson.
From Lexington Advertiser News; July 5, 1979
“Some 200 friends and acquaintances of Floyd Boldridge, lifelong Lexingtonian and a barber here for more than half a century, gathered Friday night at the high school here for a Floyd Boldridge Appreciation Day dinner, sponsored by Dixon Lodge No. 11 F.&A.M.
Boldridge, who was born January 29, 1898, in Lexington and graduated from high school here in 1916, has been a barber here 53 years and has been secretary-treasurer of Barbers Local 669 for over 22 years.
As the eldest of five children, he followed the trade of his father and grandfather as a barber, a tradition in which the Boldridgese have served many generations of Lexingtonians.
He was married October 2, 1923, to the former Virgie Johnson and the Boldridges have three grown children: Emerson C. Boldridge, now a federal service employee; Elmer E. Boldridge, a welder and Mary Helen, the youngest, all reared here and educated in the Lexington public schools.
Several speakers paid tribute to the honor guest at Friday night’s dinner, representing various facets of his participation in community life. The speakers included:
C.W. Cleverdon, representing the Lexington InterChurch Organization, of which Boldridge is a member; Ike Entine, city councilman, and his son Ben Entine; C.F. Childress, administrator of Lexington Memorial Hospital; Mrs. Pat Stephenson, Sr. of Lexington Park Board, of which Boldridge is a charter member; Mrs. Leon Boldridge, Zion A.M.E. Church; H.T. Seaton, Sr. E.A. Slusher, Jr. and William Aull III representing the honor guest’s wide circle of friends and associates.
. . .
The invocation was by the Rev. Robert Dabney, and the Rev. Franc Guthrie gave the benediction.
The lodge expressed its gratitude to Rebecca Chapter No. 27, Order of the Eastern Star, Mrs. John W. Carter, WM to citizens of Lexington, Richmond, Excelsior Springs, Carrollton, and Slater, and all others who participated and contributed to the occasion.”
From Lexington Advertiser News; June 20, 1984
“GEM BARBERSHOP OFFERS MORE THAN HAIRCUTS
Most people around the age of 60 start to think about retiring from their line of work and begin to contemplate on how they will spend their free time. But for Floyd Boldridge, this just isn’t the case. Floyd decided to pass up retirement years ago and continues to labor, scissors in hand, as owner and employee of the GEM barbershop located at 111 South 11 St. At 86 years young, Floyd offers one of the best business propositions in town, a quality haircut at a low price, and good conversation.
For Floyd, becoming a barber was only natural. His grandfather, Matt Boldridge, started the family business with his two sons, Louie and Tom in 1910. The shop was opened on 10th street (now the law firm of Bradley-Langdon-Bradley) and remained there for 70 years. In 1918, Floyd cut his first head of hair for an expensive 35 cents. A shave was an additional 25 cents. Inflation has since hit Floyd’s business and he has been forced to raise his prices. He now charges $3.50 for a haircut and $2.50 for a shave.
For six years now Floyd has worked alone. In 1976 Floyd’s brother Manville retired from the three-generation-old business, the last of the five Boldridge brothers to work in the barbershop besides Floyd. Throughout the years, Floyd and his brothers cut the hair of many famous people, among them Ike Skelton, General Houge, and players from the old Kansas City Blues baseball team.
Competition has never bothered Floyd because he feels that his haircuts and shaves are of the highest quality. He never was much for the changing hair styles either. As for women, he said he used to cut their hair, but eventually they started coming in and asking for all the latest cuts, something that he just wasn’t much interested in or had the time for. Nowdays, things are starting to slow down but Floyd still manages to keep busy. “I’m busy a couple days during t week, but most of the time I just relax in the shop and enjoy talking with the people who stop by,” says Boldridge. “Most of my customers are older men who have been regulars for years, so I don’t really worry about stirring up new business,” added Boldridge.
When entering his shop, one can’t help but to be intrigued by the old-fashioned equipment he still uses. From his 60-year old brass Koken Congress model barber chair to his steel combs, Floyd insists on using the old tools of the trade which he feels more comfortable with. But the most interesting piece in his shop may be the first thing you notice when entering. A painting, taken from a 1919 photograph, looms largely over the lounge area of the shop. The painting is an oil, done by Austin Booth of Marshall. The painting depicts the original barbershop as it stood in the early 1900’s.
Floyd plans to continue cutting hair and solving the world’s political problems with his customers for a few more years. Physically he feels like he is capable. “Nothing hurts me and I am blessed almost perfect health. My daily routine seems to keep me in shape,” said Boldridge. Sports also seem to keep Floyd young. Although he hasn’t actively participated for some 60 years, he still enjoys a good ballgame along with some good fishing and a little gardening in his spare time.”
Floyd died November 19, 1985, and is buried next to Virgie at Forest Grove Cemetery.