Former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne K. Curry, the first African-American to hold that job, has died.
Curry died at his Upper Marlboro home. He was 63 and had lung cancer.
Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement Wednesday that Curry, a Democrat, oversaw a “transformative” period for the county, with “explosive population and economic growth.” He says Curry was “fearless” in advancing causes that helped Maryland’s African-American community.
Curry, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving to Cheverly, was elected in November 1994, and served two terms as county executive until 2002. His time in office came as Prince George’s County grew into one of the largest African-American middle classes in America and also produced a new generation of black political leaders.
Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey tells WTOP (http://bit.ly/1rjjY7X ) that Curry “helped create the image of Prince George’s County as a place where economic development could really take off.” He calls Curry a “towering figure” who had “a great knack for closing the deal” and says he retained his influence in the county.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown released this statement:
“Today, Prince George’s County, and the state of Maryland, has lost a leader whose fight for justice, fairness, economic equality, and a brighter future for all of our children was matched only by his passion for service and a lifelong commitment to advocacy. And Karmen and I have lost a friend who worked every day to make our county, and our state, a better place.
“Wayne Curry was an advocate in the best sense of the word: a fighter who never stopped championing his vision for a better, stronger, more inclusive Prince George’s County. He was smart and tough – a leader who you always wanted on your side. And he never shied away from tough challenges, including his final battle with cancer.
“I, along with an entire generation of leaders, public servants, and Prince Georgians, stand on the shoulders of the legacy he left behind. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sheila, his children, and all of his friends and family throughout Maryland.”