Bill Shaw MBE was well-known for his role at Dimensions, on Peel Parade, which he opened in 1973.
Other venues later followed in Leeds, Pontefract, Wakefield and Sheffield.
He became an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2012 and trained thousands of stylists across the nation - and his former son-in-law says he hasn’t got a bad word to say about him.
Simon Shaw, 51, of Gawber, said: “He was my first boss and my mentor - he was such a fantastic guy.
“All I’ve got is good memories of Bill because he was so kind and helped so many - I haven’t got a bad word to say about him.
“I started working for Bill in 1985 and he was a funny guy and so smart in business.
“He was probably the smartest businessman I’ve ever met and he was so passionate about his industry.
“I was kind of expecting it but it still came as a massive shock - it really upset my family so obviously that upset me too, I can’t quite get my head around it all.”
Bill was the chair of The Hairdressing Council and Keith Conniford, chief executive of the organisation, described him as a ‘very special man’.
He said: “I have known Bill for over 30 years, and totally respected him not just as a man and a friend, but as a powerful advocate for the hair and barber industry.
“Bill was a very special man, a man I could always trust and whose advice I always respected.
“He worked tirelessly for the industry and that industry will be worse off without him.
“I will never forget Bill, someone very special to our industry whose values to do things right will always resonate with me.”
Local barber Tony Batty added: “It’s a very sad loss for the hairdressing world because he put so much into it.
“He was an inspirational man to a lot of people.”