Edward O. Wayson Jr., an Annapolis lobbyist and attorney whose family owned a well-known bingo parlor and restaurant, died Saturday at Anne Arundel Medical Center after surgery for an aortic aneurysm. The Lothian resident was 54.
Known as "Moose," Mr. Wayson was a member of the southern Anne Arundel County family that owned a roadside business along Route 4 at Waysons Corner that mixed crab cakes and - until 1968 - slot machines. It later added bingo.
Born and raised in Upper Marlboro, he was a 1968 graduate of Charlotte Hall Military Academy and earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a law degree from Howard University in Washington.
He opened a solo law practice about 30 years ago in Waysons Corner, later joined a firm in Upper Marlboro, and in 1997 helped form the law firm of Cooter, Mangold, Tompert & Wayson, which has offices in Annapolis and Washington.
"He began as a small-town lawyer, and that demeanor never left him," said his brother, D. Boone Wayson of Annapolis. "He could be physically intimidating. He looked like a lineman on a football team. But his warm smile overcame his size."
"He could go way back with just about every elected official in the county and maybe across the state," said David H. Carroll, a friend and partner in Capitol Strategies LLC, a lobbying firm that Mr. Wayson co-founded in 2000. "He was active in political campaigns and local charities."
Among his past lobbying clients was Wynn Resorts, headed by Las Vegas-based casino owner Steve Wynn, who was a close friend and once worked at the Waysons Corner bingo business.
Mr. Wayson was an owner of that family business, Wayson Properties, which included a 750-seat bingo hall east of U.S. 301 and Route 4 - an extension of Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue.
"He was a true son of Southern Maryland," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and close childhood friend said yesterday. "He stood out in a crowd. He was gregarious and well-liked. His word was his bond."
Mr. Miller added: "He kept up his ties with old line Southern Maryland people and liked to be around the tobacco farmers who would gather at Waysons Corner."
He was an active member of the Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation and helped raise funds for the hospital's expansion and move to Jennifer Road.
Mr. Wayson was a member of the board of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association from 1998 to 2002 and was on the board of directors for the Annapolis-Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce from 1998 to 2001.
He also raised funds for the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club, YMCA of Central Maryland, Archbishop Spalding High School and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the Rhode River.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, on Church Circle in Annapolis.
In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of eight years, the former Jeannine McGolrick; two daughters, Sarah Elizabeth Wayson and Anne Katherine Wayson, both of Annapolis; his mother, Ruth Ann Wayson of Denver; a stepdaughter, Kacey Stephens of Annapolis; and a step-granddaughter. His 17-year marriage to the former Beth A. Peters ended in divorce.