Tributes paid to Luton hairdresser Jeff Gold who 'served his community for over 55 years as a hairdresser and friend'
Jeff lost his battle with Covid-19 in February and his family have released a tribute for the community to remember him
The Luton community is paying tribute to a much-loved hairdresser who was "a brilliant listener" and "someone you could count on in good and bad times".
Jeffrey Harvey Goldberg, known as Jeff Gold, died aged 72 on February 27 due to Covid-19, and now his family wish to pay tribute to his life and warn the community to keep taking the virus seriously as restrictions ease.
Jeff worked at Headquarters salon on New Bedford Road, the name of which may also be familiar because his business partner Rob Collis was featured in December to mark his retirement.
Jeff's daughters Danielle Fenn, 44,and Nikki Mecker, 41, told the Luton News: "Jeff was perfect for hairdressing - extremely social, outgoing, and his personality was huge. He
always had a good story to tell. Clients have expressed that Jeff was a brilliant listener, someone you could count on in good and bad times. A true friend!
"Outside of work, Jeff’s passions were his family and love of cars and Italian food! Jeff loved Sunday lunches out with his partner Ruth, dinner with friends and family, and trips to
the theatre. Jeff enjoyed holidays in the sun and visits to Nikki and family in New York."
Jeff was born on August 9, 1948 in Luton, second child to parents Susie and Sid. He always worked in Luton and moved to Stanmore over 25 years ago.
Jeff and his sister Daphne Barnett were always very close despite the 12 years age difference, with Jeff's time as a youngster described as an "amazing childhood", being "bought up in a very close, loving, supporting family unit".
As a boy, he attended St Gregory’s School followed by St George’s School in Harpenden. The young Jeff played a lot of rugby - "despite breaking many bones!"
Danielle and Nikki said: "Dad left school at 15 and went to work for his father, Sid Goldberg, at the world famous ‘The George' hair salon in Luton, where he completed his training. Not long after his parents opened up Harvey’s which was named after him and there he flourished.
"Soon after the family opened Cresta Hair salon, which became The Cutting Corner in the 80s. During this time Jeff bought the ladies side of the business from his brother-in-law Arnold and enjoyed great success, putting on ambitious hair shows in the town centre.
"Many of Jeff’s clients have been with him from the very start; a haircut was always so much more than just a cut. Going to work for Jeff was never about work, more of an
extension of his social life."
Rob Collis joined the business in 1973 and the pair "quickly became a double act" which endured for 48 years.
In 2003, Jeff and Rob went on to become business partners, opening up Headquarters on New Bedford Road.
Commenting on the duo's relationship, Danielle and Nikki said: "It was one of the reasons Jeff loved going to work so much, it was always a laugh between them, with some terrible jokes and lengthy stories, excitement - 'it’s Cheltenham' or the daily banter about their beloved football teams, Arsenal and Manchester United. The clients loved the banter and chat too."
Jeff was still planning to return to work after the lockdown at the time of his death, while Rob had officially retired in December 2020.
However, Jeff tested positive for Covid-19 on January 6, and bravely fought the virus until his death on February 27. He had been transferred to ICU on January 21, but unfortunately he did not recover or come out of the induced coma.
As a warning to residents, his daughters said: "People see the stats on the news on a daily basis but until it hits your family, it doesn’t mean too much. To not be able to be by your loved one’s bedside to offer that comfort, and to rely on video calls for communication was extremely difficult. To say your final goodbyes in a PPE outfit, to not be able to hold him or
touch him will forever be a difficult reminder of what Covid has done to so many families.
"What a waste of a beautiful life.
"Do not take any unnecessary risks, wear a mask and listen to what we are being asked to do. We as a family wouldn’t wish the last couple of months on anyone and we have to live with this pain for the rest of our lives."
Jeff leaves behind his daughter Danielle Fenn, 44, and son-in law Malcolm, daughter Nikki Mecker, 41, and son-in-law Morgan, four grandchildren – Dillon, Jake, Sonny and Billie - and Ruth Rosenthal, his partner of 30 years, and her family. He also leaves behind "a huge circle of friends and clients".
Jeff's funeral took place on Sunday, March 7, with 30 people in attendance and over 200 people on Zoom.
Rob remembers: "One of Jeff's greatest moments - having beaten cancer twice, and having survived a stroke and a heart attack - was when he and his team of four clients completed the London to Brighton bike ride raising over seven thousand pounds for the Children's Cancer Care Unit at the L&D."
Danielle and Nikki concluded: "Jeff was a kind, loving, supportive father who spoilt his grandkids and just absolutely loved hearing them calling him Papa. Family, Ruth, Robert, friends and clients meant the world to him.
"His antics are legendary and not for repeating in a newspaper. Every one of us will have a special memory!
"He was a much loved, respected man who served his community for over 55 years as a hairdresser and friend."