Louis Stokes, whose iconic career in public life assures him a place as one of the most revered, respected and powerful figures in Cleveland history, died Tuesday night. He was 90. The older brother of former Mayor Carl B. Stokes had an aggressive form of cancer, diagnosed in late June. A proud, personable and gracious man whose dress and manner exuded dignity, Stokes never wanted to be a politician, aspiring instead to become Cleveland’s leading Black lawyer.

But the reluctant officeholder who came to Congress in 1969 left it 30 years later as a towering political figure both in Washington and at home.