Beloved Milwaukee pharmacist Dr. Lester Carter dies at age 90

NOW: Beloved Milwaukee pharmacist Dr. Lester Carter dies at age 90

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dr. Lester Carter, a man who served Milwaukee's north side as a pharmacist for about half a century, has died at the age of 90.

For a long time, Dr. Carter ran his own store at 24th and Burleigh. 

In 2018, CBS 58 was there when the street where the store stands was named in the doctor's honor. 

He sold that store to Hayat Pharmacy in 2014, but continued to work at the store part-time. 

Many people will tell you stories about how Dr. Carter touched their lives. 

One of those people is Milwaukee's acting mayor, Cavalier Johnson. 

"Safe to say [Dr. Carter was] a pillar of community?" asked CBS 58's Bill Walsh. "Someone who entire generations, multiple generations depended on?"

"Absolutely, 100%. As you know, I contracted Covid earlier in the year," said Mayor Johnson. "And as I continue to have lingering effects, which I still do now, one of the folks I reached out to said 'oh, you should go see Dr. Carter.' That literally just happened this past week, where I’m getting recommendations to go see Dr. Carter, because this institution, this wealth of knowledge in the African American community for so, so long."

"Just going over his bio -- Korean War vet, Creighton grad of the School of Pharmacy in 1958, they believe the first African American gentleman to do that -- talk to me about being an inspiration to others in the community," said CBS 58's Bill Walsh.

"You talk about the Korean War and him first having lived in Nebraska and having his first job in Iowa teaching rich, white kids to swim," said Mayor Johnson. "Even back then, having to deal with all the racism breaking into the field, trying to be a pharmacist and be involved in medicine, but being Black at the same time and having to be in the back of the store so people wouldn't see him, all of the challenges that he had then just speaks to his fortitude that he really is a personification of the African American experience, especially as it relates to the Jim Crow era in the United States where you took it, but you fought for and you looked for a better day. That's what Dr. Carter did. And he did fight through it. He got past it. He got through it, had his own business and really became a legend in our community."

The Common Council released a joint statement Monday saying that Dr. Carter will be sorely missed but not forgotten. 

State Representative David Bowen expressed condolences on Twitter, calling Carter "Wisconsin's first Black pharmacist."

Share this article: