ICYMI: Public Viewing and Services Set for Wayne Curry, County's First African-American Executive

Public viewings are planned Wednesday and Thursday for former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, 63, who died from lung cancer. Some roads will be closed Wednesday because of the viewing.

Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, 63, has died from lung cancer. Credit: Screenshot from NBC Washington
Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, 63, has died from lung cancer. Credit: Screenshot from NBC Washington

Public viewings are planned Wednesday and Thursday for former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, 63, who died July 2 from lung cancer.

Curry will lie in state at the Prince George’s County Administrative Building from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, reports The Washington Post. The building is at 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive.

A second public viewing will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 10, at the First Baptist Church of Glenardern, 600 Watkins Park Drive in Upper Marlboro.

A service will follow the viewing at 11 a.m. Thursday. The internment will be a private ceremony for family only.

The Prince George's County Police Department says these roads will be closed Wednesday because of the viewing:

  • 7 am - 10 pm - Governor Oden Bowie Drive will be closed from Elm Street to the traffic light at Route 725
  • 7 am - 11 am - Main Street will be closed from Pratt Street to Water Street

Curry died at home, says NBC Washington. After he was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2013, he worked to publicize the disparities of cancer treatment in the United States, and warned African-Americans about the dangers of smoking.

The Democrat was a real estate and corporate lawyer who became Prince George's first African-American county executive in 1994. He left office in 2002.

Current County Executive Rushern Baker III called Curry a personal mentor who embodied the American dream.

"As Prince George’s County’s first African American County Executive, he was a visionary who raised the standards for the county and its profile locally and nationally," Baker said.

The Washington Post reports Curry served two terms in the first metropolitan area in the country to shift from majority white to majority black population with income and education levels that increased.

He helped bring upscale development to the county and played a key role in persuading Jack Kent Cooke to build a new Washington Redskins stadium in Landover, but Curry refused Cooke’s demands that the county pay for the $175 million stadium. The state ultimately paid for the stadium costs, the Post says, which opened in 1997.

During his first trip to Wall Street as county executive Curry showed his tenacity when he tried to preserve the county’s bond rating even as it ran a $108 million budget deficit. The Post reports analysts applauded Curry’s presentation, but warned it was still possible the county’s rating would be downgraded.

“If you downgrade us, I’m going to The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and every other newspaper I can find, and I’m going to call you a straight-up racist,” Curry told the analysts, says the Post. “Because I’m fixing it, you applaud it, and you’re going to downgrade me instead of the guy that did it.”

Curry and his brother were two of the first African Americans to attend Cheverly-Tuxedo Elementary School, says NBC.

During an interview in mid-June with NBC Washington, Curry said his faith was strong despite the grim diagnosis.

"I prayed, consulted with God, I managed myself because I had to present my kids with the appropriate imagery with the challenge that beset me. The really compelling thing is that I wasn’t scared," Curry told NBC. 


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »