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Adrian Park Dies At 43, Was Suit Maker For Chicago Athletes, Politicians

By Alisa Hauser | April 15, 2016 2:02pm | Updated on April 15, 2016 2:39pm
 Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Park, a tailor who made a suit for Rizzo
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Park, a tailor who made a suit for Rizzo
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Adrian T. Park/Facebook; DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser (Park)

WICKER PARK — A tailor and suit maker who outfitted several of Chicago's leading athletes and politicians and was an ever present fixture in his North Avenue storefront has died at 43.

Tai Sung "Adrian" Park, founder of a suit shop bearing his name at 1755 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, died around 2 a.m. Thursday from sudden heart failure, according to Park's brother, Tai Park.

Park's brother said that Adrian came home from work on Wednesday night and was not feeling well,  so he took a hot bath. But he grew pale and faint, prompting a visit to the hospital, where he later died.

Park lived in Northbrook with his wife, Jiyoung, and their three children, Abigal, 3, Allison, 2, and Allan, a newborn son.

Park commuted to and from Wicker Park six days each week, working long hours and rarely taking time off. Even his cell number is advertised on the door of his shop.

Park's store, which opened in 2007, recently began offering handmade Italian shoes and custom wedding and bridesmaid dresses.

Former Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher and Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo were just a few of Park's clients, along with Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).

On his wedding day in 2013, Moreno said he wore a suit made by Park.

"I am shocked. He was always kind and a true entrepreneur. I will miss him as a customer and as a friend," Moreno said on Thursday.

Park was born in South Korea and came to Chicago in 1986.  He graduated from Roosevelt High School and earned a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising from Northern Illinois University before furthering his studies at the Illinois Institute of Art.

"Fashion was his passion; that's what he did all his life. Everyone in our family except for me is in fashion," said Tai Park, who works in the restaurant industry.

Luke Cho, co-owner of Wicker Park clothing store MildBlend Supply Co., is Adrian Park's uncle.

"He built his business around his integrity and expertise, making suits for everyone from athletes to celebrities to everyday people. Before suits, he had his own clothing brand, Synch," Cho said. 

Cho, who visited his nephew's store on Friday, said that there are "quite a bit of alterations and wedding-related items and bridesmaid dresses" not yet completed.

Adrian Park had just one assistant, a non-family member, Juan, who is tasked with wrapping up the business, Cho said.

"They will finish out the orders written and decide what to do. Adrian basically handled everything. He is irreplaceable. It's not like someone can jump in. He was the face of the business and his business," Cho said.

Cho's wife, Candise, described her nephew as "a wonderful father, son, husband and brother. "

"He always had a smile and worked so diligently to build a successful business to provide for his family," Candise Cho said.

Well-known in the Korean business community, Adrian Park would help other small business owners. He was very frugal, often bringing food from home rather than eating at the many restaurants near his shop.

"He was quite budget-minded, but to his customers he was very generous, and would give them the shirt off his back, said Luke Cho, adding that he is relieved his nephew's home is paid for and that he'd had the foresight to have a life insurance policy to help his wife and young children.

In addition to his wife, children and brother, Park is survived by a sister, Tai Sook. He was preceded in death by his father, who died in 1975 and his mother who died in 1999.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tai Sung "Adrian" Park in his store in 2014 [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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