Jean as we all call her, moved to Reno, Nevada in 1960 from Casa Grande, AZ. She moved to Reno for the same reason many of us did, because she had a family member (sister, Bobbie) living here. She started working as a Physical Therapist at Washoe Medical Center (Renown) After doing this for a few years, she realized that her natural talent was cutting hair. In 1978 she became a barber after attending the Mohler Barber College in Sacramento, CA. Jean started working at Eleanor Fitch’s Barber Shop on Lake Street as a apprentice, EmRae’s Beauty Salon on 9th Street and then in Peggy Hook’s Barber Shop on Montello (across from Pat Baker’s Park) Street .
Jean later opened her own barber shop on Montello and Oliver street.
This location was later bought by the city and torn down. Ruby Jean’s Barber Salon is now located at 730 E. 7th Street, Reno, NV 89512. Jean has been in the Barber Business over 42 years. Reminiscing on the old days, Jean said that when she first moved to Reno in 1960, blacks could only go the the New China Club, the Soul Club (black owned) and the Do Drop Inn (black owned) to socialize. All the other clubs were off limits. Housing for blacks was also restricted, at one time blacks could not live on Montello street beyond Oddie Blvd., by Pat Baker Park. She remembers that with the help of the NAACP, chaired by Rev. Onie Cooper, things got a little better. Carrie Clark was the first black woman to purchase a house on the other side of Oddie on Montello Street.