Donald Gordon Lewis, known as the "best Mayor Birmingham never had", has died aged 81.
A Conservative councillor for nearly 40 years representing Selly Oak, he was a key figure in the city's regeneration and died just five days after the death of his friend and fellow father of modern Birmingham, Sir Richard Knowles.
Mr Lewis was closely involved in the development of the National Exhibition Centre and the International Convention Centre.
A love of transport meant he had a special interest in Birmingham International Airport.
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Mr Lewis moved to Birmingham with his mother when he was just five-and-a-half after his father died.
Along with his sister Sheila, they lived in Moseley with his maternal grandparents who were well-known in the city - his grandfather Arthur Gurden was founder of the Wathes, Cattell & Gurden dairy firm and a councillor for Hall Green.
He met his wife Dereen at a dance on Valentine Day in 1947 and was married three years later.
Mr Lewis followed his grandfather's footsteps into politics in 1959 and became a respected figure across the city, sitting on numerous committees, including a post as chairman of the Airport Committee. In 1970 he become an Honorary Alderman.
In 1995 he was set to succeed Sir Richard Knowles as Lord Mayor but just 10 days before the historic date he lost his seat in the local elections that saw the Tories trounced.
His friend Councillor Len Clark (Con Quinton) said: "His main disappointment would have been to be elected Lord Mayor and then unfortunately lose his seat in Selly Oak before he could take it. He carried that disappointment with a great deal of charm and never let it affect his relationship with anyone."
Mrs Lewis, who now lives in Solihull, added: "It was absolutely devastating. So many people have called him the best Lord Mayor that never was."
She said her husband passed away peacefully on February 22 just before midnight "sitting in his chair".
As well as Dereen, he leaves one daughter, Irene, and two granddaughters, Nicola and Aimee. His funeral service is to take place on Friday at 1pm, at Edgbaston Old Church, Priory Road.