•Brewer, 63, was Wichita’s first, and so far the only, elected Black mayor.**

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, was remembered warmly by family, friends and fellow elected officials during his memorial service held June 19, at Holy Savior Catholic Church, Wichita.

Sue Schlapp, who served with him on the Wichita City Council called her late friend a gentle giant. Lavonta Williams, who succeeded Brewer on the city council, spoke about his leadership as the city’s mayor from 2007 to 2015. Brewer helped successfully guide the city back from the recession.

Under his leadership, in 2009, Wichita was designated an All-American City. Under Brewer’s leadership, the City also constructed and opened a new Central library and built and opened a new airport terminal.

Brewer’s love and respect for Wichita dated back to his childhood. A Wichita native, Brewer was one of six children. He was raised primarily by his mother with the assistance of his grandparents. He was educated in the Wichita public school system and graduated from Wichita North High School in 1975 and attended Friends University.

Brewer worked in the aviation industry (Boeing, Spirit, and Cessna) for 32 years, beginning as a sheet metal worker. He joined the Machinists Union, and went on to become a union steward. He later advanced to a position as a manufacturing engineer and eventually moved onto the management team at Spirit Aviation. Brewer retired from Spirit in early 2017.

Brewer also served in the Kansas Army National Guard, and rose to the level of company commander of infantry and artillery companies. Brewer could be counted on to lend the support of his guard members on projects in the community.

Brewer represented Wichita’s City Council District 1 from 2001 to 2007. On April 3, 2007, he defeated incumbent Carlos Mayans in the race for mayor of Wichita by 61% to 37 %. The city council chambers were packed and overflowing for his swearing-in ceremony.

In 2017, Brewer became the first Democrat to announce his run for governor of Kansas in the 2018 election. In a crowded Democratic primary held in August 2018, Brewer placed second behind current Governor Laura Kelly.

That would be his last political run. Shortly after, his health began to fail. His death was from kidney complications that were further complicated by cancer.

Any mention of Brewer’s life had to include his love of barbecuing. He and his Brewer’s Smokin’ and Chokin’ barbecue team won honors in cook-offs across the country.

He is survived by his wife Cathy, and his children: two sons, Carlo and Jason, and two daughters, Carol and Cheryl. He had 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

**Note: A. Price Woodard was Wichita’s first African-American mayor, but was selected by his fellow members of the Wichita City Commission (which later became the city council) instead of by public vote. SEE STORY HERE   

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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