Beloved hairstylist dies, remembered for dedication to family, clients

Published 12:17 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019


NATCHEZ — A Natchez woman died Monday morning at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson more than a year after she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood and bone cancer.

Karen Nix, 55, was born Feb. 9, 1964, and met Jayson, her husband of 26 years at Mane Event hair salon on Homochitto Street where they were both hairstylists.

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Karen’s sister-in-law, Teri Nix Halsted, said most of the people in Natchez who knew Karen either had their hair cut at Mane Event or attended First Baptist Church in Natchez, where Karen was an active member.

“She was the best person I’ve ever known,” Halsted said. “She did hair at Mane Event nearly 30 years and fell in love with my brother while they were both cutting hair across the room from each other. … She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and had long-term relationships with her clients. … She was very involved at First Baptist Church in Natchez and loved her church family.”

Halsted said Karen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Oct. 5, 2018, a type of cancer that affects white blood cells and weakens the immune system.

Jayson said Karen had finally been scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in three weeks when she caught a bacterial infection over the weekend and her health rapidly declined.

“Saturday, she slept a lot and was very quiet,” he said. “She had several blood transfusions and her white count was low. She got a bacterial infection and she just couldn’t fight anymore.

“… We spent a full year of running back and forth for chemo, recovering from chemo, going through multiple transfusions and finally we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. She was always so positive. Anytime you would ask her how she was doing she’d say, ‘I’m doing good’ — and she was. She had it well. She would get tired really easily because chemo wore her out, but that was it.”

Karen and Jayson were married July 1, 1993, and later had two children — Laura Kate Nix and John Parker Nix. Halstead said the Nix’s have all but adopted Laura’s boyfriend, Dylan Sandidge and John’s girlfriend, Taylor Yates.

“Karen was a devoted mother, devoted wife and coworker,” Halsted said. “She loved her husband, her kids and her life. The outpour of love and support she received from the community just shows the kind of person she was. She was beautiful inside and out, even when she had no hair. No one could pull that look off like she could.”

Jayson said people from all over Natchez and beyond made blood and monetary donations to support Karen and their family. He remembers her doing what she loved — sitting by the pool reading a book or listening to their son John play guitar, he said.

“She was just the perfect woman for a man who was looking for the mother of his children,” Jayson said. “I could not have found a better one. She was God’s gift to me and it took me 30 years to find her. She led a wonderful life. We spent every hour of every day together, 24-seven. … I’ll miss her.”