Traffic at the stately Greer Oaks Gallery, which sits on the border of the Brewers Hill and Harambee neighborhoods is as vibrant as usual, but for a different reason. Mourners from near and far are coming to pay their respects to the family of Calvin Greer, who passed away on Thursday, December 13 at the age of 56. The beautiful historic mansion, once a hotel, is one of the best-kept secrets in Milwaukee, but not to history buffs and artists. It is a work of art itself with all of the original woodwork, stained glass windows and fireplaces. The gallery hosts several art shows annually and is full of Greer’s own creations. He was best known for his wooden drums and decorated bowls. One of only two wood turners in the Milwaukee area, Greer traveled the country to sell his wares at festivals in places like New Orleans, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Since the demise of the Inner-City Arts Council the Gallery has become the meeting place for artists, poets, actors and musicians young and old. Receptions for national and local politicians and other dignitaries, weddings and other celebrations have taken place inside and outside the gallery. Greer always boasted about his lovely flower garden. Calvin Greer was a gracious and generous person with a heart of gold. One of his passions was celebrating African American history and culture “by any means necessary,” and sharing it with everyone. This was evidenced by the fact that he did not charge admission, but only accepted donations. The gallery was also home for himself and his wife Dorothy and their two dogs, Buda and Jack. He leaves to cherish his memory: His wife Dorothy; two sons, Calvin Ashanti and Christopher J.; his mother Annie Golden; four brothers, Norman (Theresa) Golden, Larry (Rita) Golden, Wardell (Marilyn) Golden and Joe (Paris) Golden, a special cousin Johnny Pierce and a host of other relatives, in-laws and friends. He was preceded in death by his sister Linda Golden and his father Nathaniel Golden.
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