Monday, September 22, 2003

Designer Tony LaFata, 89, made clothing for celebrities

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For more than 70 years, designer and master tailor Tony LaFata custom-made clothes for some of the most influential people in the country.

In his Avondale studio on East McMillan Avenue, Mr. LaFata designed suits for Bob Hope, Johnny Bench, Perry Como and other celebrities.

"He had so much charisma. A whole list of people would come in to see him. And he had such motivation, such energy," said his nephew, Tim Quill of Hebron.

Syl "Tony" LaFata died Thursday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center South in Edgewood. The Florence resident was 89.

As a designer at Hamilton Tailoring & Co. in Avondale, Mr. LaFata fitted golf's greatest - including Arnold Palmer - as the tailor for the Master's green jacket.

He also made the uniforms for the Air Force Inaugural Band.

Born in Springfield, Ill., to Italian immigrant parents, he moved with his family to Newport when he was a child.

During high school, he worked in a pharmacy before entering the Army to serve in World War II, where he was stationed in the Pacific.

Honorably discharged around 1946, Mr. LaFata returned to Northern Kentucky, and eventually began working as a tailor, like his father. He won numerous awards for his design work.

Besides his nephew, other survivors include his wife of 36 years, JoAnne LaFata of Florence; two sons, Charles of Cincinnati, and Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; a daughter, Renee Waller of Bright, Ind.; seven grandchildren; and several other nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Mother of God Church, 119 W. Sixth St., Covington. Mass of Christian burial will follow at 12:05 p.m.

Entombment will be in Mother of God Cemetery Mausoleum, Covington.

Memorials: American Heart Association, 2936 Vernon Place, Cincinnati, OH 45219.



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Designer Tony LaFata, 89, made clothing for celebrities
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