Frank Stefanko, a local photographer, remembers Frank Montemurro in a letter to the editor.
Here’s a letter to the editor remembering Frank Montemurro:
I was saddened to hear of Frank Montemurro’s passing.
I was a resident of Haddonfield from 1978 to 1988, in which time I was fortunate to know Frank. He was my barber, my son’s barber, as well as being a lovely and congenial human being.
I was also fortunate, back in 1978, because that’s when I first started working with another great Jersey guy, Bruce Springsteen. On a winter’s day in 1978, while strolling through town, I asked Bruce to lean against a barbershop pole out in front of Frank Montemurro’s shop.
Bruce and I were shooting location shots while working on an album cover shoot for Darkness on the Edge of Town. The photograph now titled “Frank’s Barbershop” was one of my favorites, because it depicted a young Bruce Springsteen, with his leather jacket and wild hairdo, leaning against the barber pole, with the religious artifacts and plants showing through the window….the number 7 over the door of the shop, and part of a surfboard in the window next door.
It seemed to just exude a small town Jersey ambiance, that could have been taken anywhere, but was pure Jersey. Although that photograph never made the cover of Bruce’s album, it did, many years later, make the cover of my book Days of Hope and Dreams: An Intimate Portrait of Bruce Springsteen.
I recall how happy Frank Montemurro was in 2003 when I returned to Haddonfield, to give him a copy of my book and a poster with a large photograph of Bruce leaning against that very barber pole. Frank proudly hung that poster in his shop and told many uninformed clients about the famous Jersey rocker that posed in front of his shop.
I returned to that shop several years ago with film maker Thom Zimny, and Dave Bett from Sony Records, while we were working on the deluxe boxset of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Unfortunately the shop was closed and we couldn’t say hi to Frank.
And now Frank is gone, way too early, and he will surely be missed by all who knew him, myself included. His memory will live on for me, however, every time I look at my photograph called “Frank’s Barbershop.”
Frank Stefanko, Photographer