Milwaukee remembers Dr. Lester Carter, public memorial held Friday

Milwaukee remembered a legend Friday night, Feb. 11 as a public memorial was held for Dr. Lester Carter.

Dr. Carter died on Jan. 31 at age 90. One of the longest-serving Black pharmacists in the country, he spent decades healing the community at his pharmacy on the city's north side.

At Parklawn Assembly of God, family and friends gathered to celebrate his life.

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"All of us have fond memories of Dr. Carter. I certainly do," Milwaukee Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.

It seems everyone can tell a story about a time Dr. Carter knew exactly what they needed.

Public memorial service for Dr. Lester Carter

"I'm eternally grateful to Dr. Carter for helping me have a little more time with the most special person in my life," said Alderwoman Milele Coggs.

Since the late 1960s, Dr. Carter's store at the corner of 24th and Burleigh was a place to get questions answered.

"He always made you feel welcome, and a feeling as if once you came into the store, whatever it was that ailed you, he would take care of you," Terry Paynes said.

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Paynes was only 8 years old when he first met Dr. Carter. In the past few years, the two became close.

"I was considered his caretaker. As time went on, Mr. Carter referred to me as his son. I felt like that because he is literally like a father to me, literally," Paynes said.

Public memorial service for Dr. Lester Carter

From the stories at the memorial, many considered Dr. Carter a part of their own family. His power to heal and to inspire forever changed the neighborhood.

"Mr. Carter's legacy, in my opinion, will live on eternally throughout Milwaukee," said Paynes. "I'm 62, and I have seen him raise generations of families throughout the community."

Dr. Carter's family asks anyone wanting to make a contribution in honor of his life to support COA Youth & Family Centers.

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