Well-known Jamaica-born barber Ronald Ashford Wisdom, popularly known as Jimmy, died on Thursday of a suspected heart attack. He was 72.
Wisdom collapsed at his home in North York and was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital where he was pronounced dead, his daughter, Ninfa, told the Caribbean Camera.
She said her father who was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, came to Canada in 1968 ” to further his career as a musician .”
“He sang and played the keyboards.”
His band played in Montreal, Ottawa and several other cities in Ontario.
“But in the years just after his arrival in Canada, it was difficult for him to make a living as a musician So he turned to barbering to support his family.”
He opened his first barbershop on Eglinton Avenue West in 1974 and moved to another building on the same street in 1980 where he later established a hair dressing salon.
Ninfa noted that when her father opened his barbershop “there was, of course, a much smaller Black community in Toronto than there is today.”
“But his shop attracted a wide range of clients. Black and white people came to get haircuts and among his clients were judges, doctors and lawyers and in fact people from all walks of life.”
Toronto businessman Denham Jolly recalled that for many years he used to have his hair cut at Wisdom’s Barber Shop
“It was a family thing. I also took my sons to the shop with me. ”
Jolly described Wisdom as “a true community man.
” A lot of people may not know that he did a lot for the community. He was solid as a rock and he’ll be sadly missed.”
He leaves his wife, Merva, five children, Ninfa, Ronald Jr.,Ian, James and Nadine, nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A funeral service for the late Ronald Ashford Wisdom will be held at the Salvation Army Yorkminister Citadel in Toronto on Saturday December 14.
Interment will be at Highland Memory Gardens in Toronto.