Longtime Lexington salon owner Timothy Johnson died Friday at his home after a battle with emphysema.
"For close to five decades, he was a premier hairstylist and fashion adviser to many of Lexington's most prominent and fashionable women," longtime friend Sue Wylie wrote in a memorial of Mr. Johnson. "His friendship brightened the lives of many, many people."
Mr. Johnson was born in Salvisa and started doing hair while in his late teens. He got his start at Lexington's Wolf Wile Co. department store. Later, he worked at the Elizabeth Arden salon at Stewart's department store in Lexington.
"When Miss Arden would come to town, he would do her hair" at her Maine Chance horse farm, said Alan Garrett, Mr. Johnson's companion and partner of 38 years. "They liked each other. They would have tea in the afternoon. She said, 'You just do not know how to pour tea.'"
After Arden's death, her salon at Stewart's closed, and Mr. Johnson opened Timothy's in 1968, taking many of his high-profile clients with him.
The salon had locations on Winchester Road and in Lexington Center and the Lansdowne Shoppes over the years.
Three years ago, Timothy The Salon moved to the Wellington Arms building at East Main Street and Woodland Avenue. Garrett, a partner in the salon, will continue operating it.
Mr. Johnson was an animal lover who also enjoyed gardening, and cultivating and collecting orchids. His age was a well-kept secret, Garrett said.
"He was just known for that. Everybody made fun. He was most likable. People enjoyed being around him," Garrett said. "He made people feel good."
In addition to Garrett, Mr. Johnson is survived by his sister, Teresa Johnson of Manchester, Tenn.
A memorial will be held at a later date at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, where Mr. Johnson attended services. Donations may be made to the church or Lexington Humane Society.