MILWAUKEE — Dr. Lester Carter, the longtime Milwaukee pharmacy owner, has died at the age of 90, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.
The medical examiner says his death was reported as a probable COVID death.
A joint statement from the Milwaukee Common Council addressed Dr. Carter's death on Monday. State Rep. David Bowen also mourned the loss on Twitter.
"Dr. Carter owned and operated the Carter Drug Store at 24th and Burleigh for 47 years, and he touched thousands of lives in positive ways during his time in business and beyond," the statement from the Common Council reads. "He helped improve the overall quality of life for community members, and as we remember his service, we think of his special touch."
The Carter Drug Store was the only Black-owned drug store in Milwaukee.
Beyond his work in his store, he was known for his commitment to the community and inspiring others that they could achieve their dream. Plus, he was always known to be wearing a colorful bow tie.
Dr. Carter enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War. He graduated from the Creighton University pharmacy school. Afterward, he moved to Nebraska and worked his way up from a soda fountain clerk to being a pharmacist.
In the late 1960's, he moved to Milwaukee to help his friends with a business idea. However, he realized soon that his true passion was owning a pharmacy. So he did exactly that. In 1968, he opened Carter Drug store. He eventually sold it to Hayat Pharmacy in 2014, which took over the prescription filling side of the business. Since then he has been selling his own natural and herbal remedies.
In 2018, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a motion to rename a street after Dr. Carter in 2018.
Read the Common Council's statement below:
Sadly, we have learned of the passing of Dr. Lester Carter, a longtime community anchor and business trailblazer, and we want to share our sincere condolences with his loved ones and friends.
Dr. Carter owned and operated the Carter Drug Store at 24th and Burleigh for 47 years, and he touched thousands of lives in positive ways during his time in business and beyond. He helped improve the overall quality of life for community members, and as we remember his service, we think of his special touch.
Not only did you come to Dr. Carter’s store to get a prescription for whatever your ailment was, but he was also a source of inspiration. When you left his store, you were going to feel better before you even took that first pill or applied that ointment.
Dr. Carter, who the Common Council approved an honorary street renaming for in 2018, was a true community treasure (and legend) and will be sorely missed but not forgotten.
Rest in peace, Doc.