Nathan Payne made a lot of friends over the years. The man affectionately known as Bud passed away Sunday at 83.
Payne was a Stillwater icon, cutting hair in Stillwater since the late '50s as the proprietor of Bud's Barber Shop on Washington Street.
“The stories Bud could tell! He gave our son his first haircut, and quite a few after that. His gentle conversation for a scared boy almost 2 years old made this right of passage so easy and fun,” Melody Wright wrote. “Bud knew everyone and everyone knew Bud. Our condolences to his loved ones. Heaven gained a good one!!”
Payne gave a lot of first haircuts, including Robbie Breedlove, son of News Press columnist Robert Breedlove. Writing about Payne’s eclectic space, Breedlove said it was like entering a “different dimension.”
“If the Smithsonian museum folks were to designate a brick and mortar building as a national shrine of “stuff”, it definitely would be the entire contents of Bud’s Barber Shop,” Breedlove wrote. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums have nothing that can’t also be found under Bud’s roof. Old black and white photos and posters, taped, thumb-tacked, nailed, or simply just leaning against something else are EVERYWHERE inside! And, please don’t trip over the various animal skulls scattered around between the radios, televisions, old containers of various hair products, or numerous gifts the public/customers have brought into the shop to give Bud for the past 60 years.”
Payne counted Bryant "Big Country" Reeves and music legend Garth Brooks among his friends. He said he used to cut Brooks’ hair for a bologna sandwich.
But Payne wasn’t just a collector of things and famous friends. He had his finger on Stillwater’s pulse, weighing in on local politics, athletics or any subject one could think of.
“If you want to know about something, you come here,” John Gillman told the News Press in a 2016 interview. “It could be about the price of cattle or what the city manager is doing.”