Taylor Lucy of Mr. T’s Shoe Services dies at 99

Taylor Lucy, who operated Hyde Park’s Mr. T’s show Services for years (Photo by O.A. Fraser)

Staff Writer

Taylor Lucy, a beloved Hyde Park figure who repaired shoes at Mr. T’s from 1971 to 2018, died on March 1, at the age of 99.

He was born in Shiloh, Mississippi, in the Delta, and learned his trade in high school. He was drafted in World War II, relocated to Chicago and served in Europe. After the war, he opened a shop on Garfield Boulevard in Washington Park and studied electrical engineering through the GI Bill. During time as a factory shoemaker at the B&B Shoe Company, he served as president of his United Shoemakers of America local.

“Most of the workers there were white,” Lucy recalled during an interview for a 2014 Herald profile, but he was popular. “Every year I was elected the next year. For 15 years.” After working in electrical engineering, he bought Mr T’s, first at 1374 E. 53rd St. before moving to 47th Street and eventually to 1007 E. 53rd St., on a whim.

“I came over to look at the shop,” he recalled. “I pulled out cash, paid for it right there on the spot.”

Mr. T’s was an eccentric space: a cash-only shoe repair shop, the air thick with the scene of shoe polish and rubber, with portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Black political figures from Frederick Douglass Booker T. Washington to Malcolm X to Toni Preckwinkle on the walls. It closed last summer.

Former Herald staff writer Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul contributed.