As she closes the door to her shop this week, Carole Rader will be stepping out of the working world and into retirement.

Rader, who has operated The Beauty Shop in Jay for the past 43 years, plans to retire at the end of business day Thursday, Dec. 20.

Rader has worked as a beautician for the past 53 years. She opened her first shop in Jay in 1976, when she and her husband, the late Ken Rader, moved to the area so he could take a coaching job.

Rader said her decision to become a beautician came after watching he rmother, Pauline Peck, at work.

"I [grew up] playing in the beauty shop," Rader said. "I liked doing hair. 

"My mother once saw a head of hair I did and she said if I didn't become a beautician, I would miss my calling."

Throughout the years, Rader has watched as the styles have changed from short to long multiple times. 

Hairstyles ranging from teased hair to perms have come and gone in clusters.

Now she sees younger people request extensive color work with everything from blues, greens and yellows.

"We've gone from lots of hair spray to no hair spray, from rollers to blow drying," Rader said. "The natural look is still my favorite hairstyle."

She said is grateful for her customers, some of whom she's had for more than 40 years.

"I just want to tell everyone thank you, and that I appreciate their patronage," Rader said. "I've worked with at three generations in some families. 

"We've cried, laughed and prayed together - and aged together."

Ultimately, she said, it was the people - and the chance to be creative - which kept her going throughout the years.

"I've just had fun with most customers, even as we cried, prayed and laughed together," Rader said. "We've had good times in here."

During her 53 years of hair dressing, Rader jokes she's had a few memorable moments.

In one instance, the client kept telling Rader how to style her hair. Rader jokes she finally handed her the comb and said "do it yourself."

In another instance, she was coloring a client's hair for a Thanksgiving dinner. 

"I'd been coloring her hair for a long time, but for some reason it turned really orange," Rader said. "She went to the Thanksgiving party like that, and then afterwards we got it changed. Bless her heart, she took it great."

As she hangs up her scissors, Rader said she's starting to make plans for the future.

She hopes to start sewing again. She also plans to continue to volunteer at her church - Mt. Hermon Church.

She's also looking forward to having time, without appointments.

"I just don't want to have to hurry [anywhere] in the morning," Rader said. "I just want to have some time to relax."

Rader said she will miss her clients.

"If I spend three days by myself, I get kinda bored," Rader said. "When you are around people, it's just more fun."

She jokes that her last customer will simply depend upon who is sitting in her chair before closing time.

"I've had some of the best people [clients] in the world," Rader said. "I'l be sad when I walk out of here. But I decided, if I do it [retire], I want to do it, when I want to do it."

Rader said she's ready to spend time with her adult children, Kristi Lippe and Curt Rader, her grandchildren: Trey Lippe, Kayla Lee, Keni Joe Lippe, Blade Lippe and Gunner Rader, and her great-grandchildren, Harper and Nora Lee, and Phoenix Lee - set to be born later this month.

Her retirement bucket list is simple. 

"I want to wallow in bed until 7:30 a.m.," Rader said with a smile. "Let me sleep in, so I don't have to rush around."

She also plans to dive into a stack of books, which includes Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.

"I just want to thank people," Rader said. "They've been so good to me. I will miss them."