AUGUSTA (WJBF) — State Representative Henry ‘Wayne’ Howard has died, his family confirmed with WJBF NewsChannel 6 late Thursday evening.

Circumstances surrounding Howard’s passing were not immediately provided, but his family does tell WJBF NewsChannel 6 that he had been ill.

Howard, who represented Georgia House District 124 that covers a sizable portion of Augusta, was not just a valued member in Congress. Here at WJBF, Howard was an extended family member as his family started and continues the Sunday tradition of the Parade of Quartets.

Born on Sept. 1, 1955 in Augusta to late State Representative Henry L. and late Thelma Jones-Howard, Howard was fourth of eight children raised by his father and the late Arnestine Howard.

Howard graduated from Lucy C. Laney High School in 1973 and attended Augusta College. As a businessman, he started out as a carpet installer and furniture upholsterer before getting into the men’s retail clothing business. The Howard family business eventually diversified between furniture, event promotions, Parade of Quartets production, retail, and politics.

As a community leader, Howard was awarded for his work starting the Lucy Craft Laney High School Mentoring Program for at-risk youth, and for being one of the founders of the New Savannah Road Social Services Outreach Program that provided tutoring and activities to youth and seniors. Howard was on the Board of Directors for the Augusta Youth Center, was a member of the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church, and was a member of the C.S. Hamilton Male Chorus and the Sanctuary Choir. He was previously a member of Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church from 1965 to 2002 where he was ordained as a Deacon, served as chairman of the trustee and finance ministries, was president of the Mass Choir, and worked closely with the youth ministry.

His political career began in the 1970s when he was actively involved in working for his father, a representative of District 121. He had been state representative of District 124 since 2007.

In addition to extended family, Howard leaves behind his wife Cassandria, three children, two sons-in-law, and one grandchild.

“We have lost a husband, father, grandfather, brother and all-around family man who valued and loved us unconditionally, just as we did him,” his family said in a statement provided to WJBF, “He was a pillar in our family, the Augusta community, and the state of Georgia. While we grieve, we also celebrate the life he led and [the] example he set for all of us; we were blessed to have him. We kindly ask that you respect our privacy during this time. Arrangement details will be shared in the coming days.”

The Parade of Quartets contributed biographical information for this article.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis were among many who offered their condolences.

“Marty, the girls, and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Rep. Henry ‘Wayne’ Howard. His loved ones and the community he served with dedication will be in our thoughts and prayers during this time of mourning. Please join us in honoring his life and service.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R)

“I had the privilege of serving in the legislature with Representative Howard as a part of the junior class of 2007. We made a pact to work together and do the best for the citizens of Augusta, and that’s exactly what he did; everyday. Representative Howard was an example to many of us who came into politics, and offered himself to all.”

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis

The celebration of his life will take place on Thursday, October 20 at 11:30 am at The BellAuditorium in Augusta located at 712 Telfair Street.

Mays Mortuary at 1221 James Brown Blvd. has been entrusted with the services.