Lara, 55, was the owner of Georgetown Hairstyling, located at 1329 35th St., NW in Georgetown.
"His shop is one of the reasons Georgetown is such a great place and neighborhood," wrote a dedicated customer on a message board frequented by Georgetown University alumni.
"He genuinely cared about the people, the businesses around his, and those that came through his shop. For his regulars, each haircut was more a continuing conversation from your last visit. He knew about your life, and you about his. And he loathed to turn you away if you had a limited schedule. Many times he stayed late or opened early to accommodate me."
Another Hoya wrote: "He ran a good shop and gave a nice haircut, but more than that he was just so kind and pleasant to talk to whether you were a student, faculty, staff, or just lived nearby - not many businesses have that kind of local personal touch that is able to connect all of those groups (albeit almost exclusively male). He had stories and jokes, and always wanted to know about your life, but I never once heard him gossip or say a bad word about someone."
Another customer, from Fairfax, wrote on a condolence page: "You were more than a barber to many of us; you were a confidant, a friend, and sometimes a confessor. Appointments with you were like meetings with a trusted counselor; with the end of a session becoming an excellent hair cut and a soul at peace. I will miss you fried, rest in peace."
The Georgetowner noted that Lara was also a musician and had performed with a band at a Georgetown Visitation benefit the night before his death. Lara reportedly commuted back and forth to Georgetown from Annapolis, where he kept a boat; his German Shepherd Daisy often stayed with him in Georgetown.
Previously, Lara worked in the airline industry, for US Airways, according to posts in a condolence book from past co-workers who remembered his kindness and patience training new employees.
An obituary for Lara, published by Collins Funeral Home, reads:
On Saturday, June 7, 2014, of Severna Park, MD. Beloved son of Sara (Rigo) Landa and Jose Lara; nephew of Vilma Montiel and Mimi Lara; cousin of Tony Montiel, Vilma Montiel, David (Silene) Pujals, Tony Pujals and Mimi Belt. Also survived by his lifelong special friend Patty Nugent. Relatives and friends may call at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring, MD, (Valet Parking), Friday, from 7 to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. John the Evangelist Church, 10103 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD, on Saturday, June 14, at 12:30 p.m. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148.