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Family, friends, colleagues say goodbye to Gregory Carter

Family, friends and colleagues gathered outside the brick headquarters of the 27th Ward Thursday night to remember the man who had represented the area for the last 13 years.

Ald. Gregory Carter was killed Aug. 1 when the UPS tractor trailer he was driving was involved in a multi-vehicle accident in St. Charles County. He was 54, and leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as two brothers, a sister, and his father.

Ald. Sam Moore sang an old Motown hit, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye," and mourners lit candles and offered prayers.

Carter came from a family with a long tradition of public service. His mother Paula was a Democratic activist and elected official, and was serving in the state Senate when she died of cancer in 2001. His nephew Chris, a state Representative, pledged to carry on the family tradition, saying his uncle had taught him everything about being a public servant.

"My uncle put his heart and soul into this community," Chris Carter said. "Most of the time, he put his job before his kids and his family, just to make sure that people who didn't have anything had something. In this ward, he was an uncle to many more who wasn't in his family, whose last name wasn't Carter."

Alderwoman Dionne Flowers's 2nd Ward sits to the east of Gregory Carter's. She says her colleague was the one to teach her the meaning of community.

"When I came on the Board of Aldermen, Greg told me, you know, no one knows where the 2nd and 27th Ward ends and begins," she said. "It's all about working together and serving everybody. And we as aldermen come here and we represent each other's ward, but he was all over the city, and there's so many things that he did."

Other speakers praised Carter for often bringing the aldermanic Black Caucus on board with development projects, even if they weren't in his ward. Carter was the vice chair of that body.

His funeral is Saturday.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.