Sonia Kohout has been cutting hair her entire life. She started as a little girl in Czechoslovakia, continued during her years in Paris, and ultimately set up shop long-term in the Kootenays.
And though she recently celebrated her 100th birthday, Kohout is still pretty handy with a pair of scissors.
“I remember she gave me a perm when she was 96,” said Ingrid Wyles, who was visiting her Wednesday morning at Nelson’s Mountain Lake seniors community.
Kahout specially primped her hair for the occasion, and painted her nails pink. And though she has lost most of her hearing, she shared some of her worldly wisdom and signature sense of humour with the Star.
Kohout recently celebrated her induction into the centenarian club with a visit from mayor Deb Kozak (pictured below). In a subsequent Facebook post, Kozak wished her a happy year ahead.
“Her friend Suzanne Raschdorf told me that if Sonia did your hair, you had to take an afternoon — that included coffee, cake and visiting,” said Kozak, noting that Kohout and her husband lived in Six Mile for many years.
“Happy birthday Sonia and thank you for inviting me.”
When asked if she enjoyed her hairdressing career, Kohout nodded and smiled. But when asked if she enjoyed talking with her customers, she groaned and rolled her eyes. “Sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes.”
One of the highlights of Kohout’s life was befriending Thomas J. Bata, the great-grandson of the Bata Shoe company founder.
Her friend went on to run the company from the 1940s until the 1980s. When asked about her memories of Bata, she described one of the factories she visited with him.
“Huge, huge factory,” she said.
Asked whether she had a particularly fond memory that she wanted to share, Kohout couldn’t pin down a particular one.
“Everything is the best thing,” she said.
While preparing for her photo to be taken, Kohout began to hum the tune to Jingle Bells, swishing her legs back and forth, dancing in her chair. As her fellow residents looked on, she laughed joyously, celebrating her century-long journey to this point.