Wayne became the President of NAI Michael in 2011. He referred to the event as his homecoming; he began his career at NAI Michael in the 1970’s as a paralegal. After receiving his law degree from the University of Maryland, he then worked as our attorney before beginning his own law firm.
Before long, Wayne felt a calling to the life of public service, and answered it. As a natural leader, a charismatic speaker, and a tough negotiator who cared deeply for the people he represented, Wayne soon became a beloved political figure elected as the first African American County Executive of Prince George's County, Maryland. He became a civil rights leader ushering a new era of equality and social justice. Wayne's leadership shaped the modern diverse identity that continues to define Prince George's County today. His vision brought about many of the treasures the county still enjoys, including FedEx field, home of the Washington Redskins, The Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex, National Harbor, and countless others. In fact, it is hard to find a project in the county that Wayne hasn't had a positive impact on through the years.
More important than his successful projects was the pride Wayne brought to the citizens of Prince George's County. He became a catalyst for the booming growth that occured in the county throughout the eight years he spent as County Executive. As President of NAI Michael, Wayne continued making his visions a reality. He worked to improve Prince George's County through his efforts to increase competitiveness, promote business growth, and raise the tide of prosperity for the county he loved.
In 2013, Wayne was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. In a continued focus on others, he began an initiative to raise awareness of this horrible disease. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States, killing more Americans every year than the next three most common cancers combined (colon, breast and pancreatic). African Americans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than any other ethnic group. Wayne's last days were spent spreading the word about this often overlooked disease and its racial disparity.
Wayne died on July 2, 2014 at the young age of 63 at his home in Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County, Maryland. He is survived by his wife Sheila, his son Julian and his daughter Taylor. The public outpour in response to his death was unprecedented. Prince George's County honored him with a police honor guard and a day of lying in state at the county administration building. The State of Maryland honored him with flags flying at half-mast on the day of his funeral. The District of Columbia, our nation’s capital, honored him with a day named in his honor. His friends and family honored him with a funeral attended by thousands, including a myriad of elected officials and dignitaries. The community that loved him so has created the Wayne K. Curry Lung Cancer Disparity Awareness Fund, established to honor his legacy and continue his outreach.
As for his family at NAI Michael, Wayne was more than just our President, he was our friend. We will miss his guidance and wisdom, his strength and tenacity, his electric personality, and his impeccable sense of humor. Although we miss him dearly, he will never be forgotten and lives on forever in our hearts.