Carl Lewis, teacher and Overtown barbecue manager, dies

At Hialeah Senior High School, Carl Avery Lewis was known as a veteran biology teacher.

To patrons of People’s Barbecue, he was known as a grandson of the Overtown culinary landmark’s founder, George Lewis Sr.

George Sr., the county’s first black pharmacist, opened his apothecary shop in the 1920s on Northwest Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue, soon followed by a rib stand next door.

That evolved into the busy and acclaimed restaurant it is today, at 360 NW Eighth St.

Carl, who lived in Hialeah, began working at People’s at age 12, said his mother, Gloria Lewis, and continued until his death April 30 at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines.

The Miami native and Edison Senior High School graduate, born Aug. 26, 1956, was 56. His sister, Charlene Lewis, a Miami Shores pharmacist, said he succumbed to diabetic complications.

“That child was my rock,’’ who stepped up to manage the business after his father died, Gloria Lewis said. Her son planned to retire from teaching next year and devote more of his time to the restaurant, she added.

Carl Lewis held a biology degree from Morehouse College and spent 25 years in the Miami-Dade school system — the last 20 at Hialeah. He worked at People’s after school and some weekends.

He began teaching at his high school alma mater, where he coached the track team, said longtime friend Aldin L. Everette, Edison’s director of student activities.

Students appreciated his compassion, Everette said.

“If kids were running short for prom [expenses], he’d go digging into his pocket.’’

His mother said Lewis initially thought he’d become a doctor, but chose teaching because “he liked being around kids and helping others.’’

Sister Charlene said her big brother was always there for her.

“If I needed sound advice, I went to him. He always gave good advice.’’

In addition to his mother and sister, Lewis is survived by son Chad A. Lewis, his child with his first wife, Cathy Holmes. They were divorced but remained close, relatives said.

Brothers Derek Lewis and George P. Lewis III also survive.

The viewing will be held on from 1-9 p.m. Friday at Richardson Funeral Home, 4500 NW 17th Ave. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Greater Bethel AME Church, 245 NW Eighth St., Overtown, followed by burial in the City of Miami Cemetery, 1800 NE Second Ave.

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