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Virginia Union University

Osborne A. Payne

Osborne A. Payne

Osborne A. Payne, a former educator who became a trailblazing Baltimore businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, died Tuesday of Alzheimer's disease at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Columbia.

He was 87.

"He was one of Baltimore's great unsung heroes," former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who is now a Howard University administrator, said Thursday. "I knew him as a businessman and a promoter of small-business development in the city and in city government. He was a real pioneer in economic development."

"Osborne was kind, generous and a leader. We were fellow churchmen for about 30 years, and while he was a downtown businessman, I was working at Price...