Marvin W. Jenkins wanted every little boy in Riverside to remember his first haircut.
From 1961 to 1991 at Mr. Jenkins' barbershop on Pavilion Avenue, any child undergoing an inaugural shearing would be given a certificate with his name, the date, and a seal affixing a lock of hair. The tyke might even get his picture on the wall.
Many of those children grew into loyal clients who so clamored for the tonsorial skills of "Reds" Jenkins that he was kept busy with house calls until age 91, making the last one to a shut-in in late November.
On Monday, Dec. 3, Mr. Jenkins died of respiratory and heart failure at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County.
The youngest of 13 children, he was born in Williamstown, in Pennsylvania coal country, and graduated from Williamstown High School. Enlisting in the Army in 1942, he was sent into combat in the European theater, including France and Germany.
Discharged in 1945, he enrolled in a South Jersey barbering school, which led to his first job in a Camden shop and his second in the booming barber town of Riverside. There seemed to be a shop on every corner, and Mr. Jenkins soon added his own.
Reds Jenkins' Barbershop was a classic two-chair establishment, right down to the leather strops, the hot lather, the first-come-first-served policy, and the radio perennially tuned to the Phillies.
"It was a real man's place, where they talked politics and nobody minded sitting 45 minutes for a haircut or a straight-razor shave," said his daughter, Joanne Bromley, who as a child helped clean the shop in exchange for all the sodas she could drink from her father's machine.
He rarely closed the shop for a vacation, she said. But when he turned 70, he retired to spend time with his wife, Virginia. They hadn't traveled as much as they had intended when she fell ill and in 2001 died. They had been married 50 years.
Mr. Jenkins continued cutting hair, regularly visiting shut-ins and nursing homes.
He also filled the last decade of his life with church and community activities. He was an usher at St. Peter's Church in Riverside and a member of its Holy Name Society, as well as the Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW, and Riverside Turners, an athletic club.
Around Riverside, he gained a degree of celebrity for his tomatoes. A serious gardener, he kept journals, rotated his crops, saved his seeds from year to year, and gave away basketfuls of produce. But apart from the occasional squash or green bean, he never put a vegetable in his mouth, his daughter said. And certainly not a tomato.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Jenkins is survived by daughter Nancy DeDeo and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Thomas.
The viewing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Sweeney Funeral Home, 337 Bridgeboro St., Riverside. Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. at Jesus the Good Shepherd Church (St. Peter's Site), 101 Middleton St., Riverside, with interment in St. Peter's Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Samaritan Hospice, 5 Eves Dr., Suite 300, Marlton, N.J. 08053.