Ohio cancer patient receives visit from Louisville barbershop qua

In 1971, Drayton Justus led a barbershop quartet that won the championship. Now, however, he has cancer and received a special visit from a Louisville quartet at home.

PEMBERVILLE, Ohio – A Pemberville man who once traveled the world as a barbershop quartet had a special surprise on Saturday. Drayton Justus is battling cancer and a prestigious hairdressing group, Interstate Rivals, traveled all the way from Louisville to lift his spirits.

Joe Connolly, the group leader, says Jupiter is a legend in the world of barbershop quartets.

“It would never have happened without Drayton Justus,” he said, referring to their group. “That would never have happened without this man.”

Justus led a long, harmonious life. His greatest passion was to keep a harmony in a hairdressing quartet for most of his life.

“You get that special mix,” he said, “that special sound that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Justus was president of the international Barbershop Harmony Society and made for “heights” on the stage in 1971 when he won a world championship. But if he’s wearing the same tuxedo here he was wearing then, he’s now faced with a different kind of trouble: a battle with cancer.

Interstate Rivals heard of his illness and drove to his house to sing him a song.

“We are here to honor the mighty, great Drayton Justus,” Connolly said.

Jupiter did not miss a beat and uttered the words together with the rivals during their performance. They say he has been an inspiration to them all of their life.

“Just the connection and the electricity in his eyes and how everything is connected,” he said. “We were taught that early on and he shows it in everything he has done.”

Justus has sung all over the world, raised children, fought in Vietnam and most recently received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. And he says the world can find peace when you hear the sound of music.

“Especially with the pandemic we are dealing with, moments like this are getting even more beautiful,” he said.

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