Lubbock man who gave free haircuts to homeless dies at 42

Founder of Haircuts & Hope, John Romo
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 9:24 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - John Romo founded Haircuts & Hope in 2016. His mission was to give back to those in need the best way he knew how, by cutting hair.

After six years of giving back, he died on Christmas Eve.

“I plan on making this a life-long goal,” John told KCBD in 2018. “It feels too good to stop.”

John kept that promise he made in 2018. His wife, Denise, says John cut thousands of people’s hair in the past six years.

“My husband was a wonderful person,” Denise said.

She says Haircuts & Hope started when John wasn’t able to cut hair in a shop anymore.

“He has an ailment with his leg, so his foot became, he became partially disabled,” Denise said. “So, he had a lot of time to think and he wasn’t able to be behind the chair like he always was.”

Denise says he wanted to keep doing something, and felt the homeless population in Lubbock deserved to look good and feel good.

“In 2016 he was like, ‘I think I want to do haircuts for the homeless,’ and I was like, ‘That’s a good idea. How do you think you’d go about that,’” Denise said. “He was like, ‘I don’t know, I think it’d be pretty cool if I just put, got like a five-gallon bucket, put my tools in it, and went to one of the parks where some people hang out.’”

So, that’s exactly what he did.

John Romo cutting hair in 2018.
John Romo cutting hair in 2018.(KCBD Video)

Denise says those receiving the haircuts were grateful.

“They were just overjoyed at the fact that somebody would give back the time, or make the time to care about their feelings, how they felt even just like for that moment they felt better then, it’s what was important to John,” Denise said.

John ended up in the hospital in September. Then, a week before Christmas Eve he returned with a blood infection. A week later, it killed him.

“We really didn’t think it was going to end up the way that it did. Unfortunately, it did,” Denise said. “I’m still in shock, I can’t believe it.”

Denise is a hairdresser herself. She says once she’s up for it, she will continue Haircuts & Hope.

“I’d love to carry his legacy on, I don’t want to stop,” Denise said.

But Denise needs your help to pay for medical and funeral expenses, and to help continue giving back the way John would want her to.

John Romo was 42.

His viewing will be at Broadway Funeral Home at 1901 Broadway on Monday, Jan. 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

GoFundMe: To contribute to John’s expenses and help the family click here.

John Romo and his wife Denise.
John Romo and his wife Denise.(Denise Romo)