Tracee Wilkins, Zachary Kiesch and the News4 team covering where you live

Thousands Gather for Funeral of Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Over 2,000 mourners gathered at an Upper Marlboro church to say a final farewell to former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry. (Published Thursday, Jul 10, 2014)

    Over 2,000 mourners gathered at an Upper Marlboro church to say a final farewell to former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry.

    The sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro filled quickly with Curry's constituents and colleagues from across the area.

    "You never had a meeting with Wayne, you had an encounter with Wayne," U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski said during Thursday's funeral service.

    Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker also spoke at Thursday's funeral service.

    "I have appointed a committee to name one of our county buildings after Wayne K Curry," Baker said during his remarks.

    Sympathy cards from President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton were read at the emotional service. Mayor Vincent Gray also proclaimed July 10 Wayne Curry Day in D.C., News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reported.

    Curry was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2013. He died last Wednesday morning at his home at the age of 63.

    The Democrat was elected in 1994 as Prince George's first African-American executive. He served for eight years.

    O'Malley ordered that state flags fly at half-staff Thursday in Curry's honor.

    During his eight years in office, Curry brought unprecedented change to Prince George's, including a 150 percent increase in home sales, a significant expansion of business development, and a 68 percent drop in police misconduct -- though he remained modest about it.

    Last month, he told Vance he felt "pretty good," but wanted to publicize the disparities of cancer treatment in the United States, where African Americans are beset by lung cancer more than any other people.

    He also vowed to educate other African-Americans about the dangers of smoking and the real threat of cancer.

    Contributions to the Wayne K. Curry Lung Cancer Disparity Awareness Fund can be sent to the address below:

    Wayne K. Curry Lung Cancer Disparity Awareness Fund
    c/o Prince George's Community Foundation
    PO Box 3418
    Capitol Heights, MD 20791