Nelson Wayne Ennis
was born March 7, 1962 in Brooklyn, NY to the late Nelson and Edith Mae Ennis.
Wayne adopted his mother’s catch phrase, “I pay the cost to be the boss!” He grew up in the Van Dyke projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn until his family moved to Flatbush in his early teens.
For years, he still sang in the Brownsville Community Baptist Church Choir. Not forgetting where he came from, Wayne seized every opportunity to return to visit his old neighborhood throughout his adulthood. He was educated in the city’s public school system and was mentored by Shirley Chisolm, the first African American woman who was elected into Congress and who also campaigned for the 1972 nomination of the Democratic Party for US President.
Nicknamed “Chill” at John Dewey High School, Wayne was accredited as being a founder of the Council for Unity (CFU). This organization was established to prevent or settle—through conflict resolution, education, and other peaceful measures—issues that stemmed primarily from matters of diversity that involved bias, bullying, safety, and gang violence in schools and communities. Espousing a vision of unity, inclusion, and integration, CFU now boasts a membership of more than 100,000 members and has expanded beyond New York, forming chapters in Vermont, Milwaukee, and San Francisco and in lands as far away as Nigeria and the Republic of Moldova. As part of its alumni association, Wayne travelled to attend award and induction ceremonies, fundraising events, and other activities relevant to its causes.
Upon high school graduation, Wayne volunteered to serve his country in the US Army. Affectionately called “Sergeant E” by his subordinates, Wayne developed many long-lasting friendships with military comrades through his tours, including those in Europe and the Middle East during his three years of active duty and fifteen years as a reservist. While in the military, he met Carol McDonald who he married in 1986. This union resulted in the birth of their two daughters, Marie and Alexia. After an honorable discharge from active duty, Wayne continued to serve the government at the US Postal Service at JFK Airport in New York. The family relocated to the DC metropolitan area, and he transferred to the Curseen-Morris Processing & Distribution Center where he was employed and received many accolades throughout his nearly 35 years of service. He was known to his co-workers as “New York” because he usually displayed his hometown pride with gear representing his favorite sports teams like the Giants, Yankees, and Knicks. The post office became another family near and dear to his heart as a support system who showed him much love for his being an open and honest man of his word who at times spoke his mind without filter as if he led his life on his own terms. Wayne also formed other family-like relationships in his social circles, occasionally providing shelter in his home to those who became down on their luck. When he resided in Northern Virginia, he became especially close to the Greene family and became a godfather to their young. Wayne earned a Career Studies Certificate in Collision Repair Technology at Northern Virginia Community College. He also graduated from a 10-week New Members Class at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in DC where he enjoyed receiving the Word and listening to the choirs. Wayne was a music lover of many genres. After moving to Upper Marlboro, MD, he joined City of Praise Ministries in Landover in 2016.
Wayne cherished moments bonding with both sides of his family and visiting them in New York and North Carolina, travelling to cities like Vegas, Toronto, Chicago, Miami, and Orlando with his partner, attending live theater and sports events, watching television, playing games online, and adoring his two White German Shepherds Yukon and Blanca. He went home to be with the Lord on March 11, 2018. He was a fun-loving, generous, and caring individual who will be sorely missed.
His elder sister Lisa Von Ennis-McGeary preceded him in passing nearly seven years ago. The survivors of Nelson Wayne Ennis include his partner of twenty-five years, Glenn Williams of Upper Marlboro, MD; two daughters Marie Vaughan of Richmond, VA and Alexia Ennis of Charlotte, NC; brother Salvatore Ennis of Brooklyn, NY; sister Shanikqua Lizzette Ennis-Martens of Keokuk, IA; two nephews Andre and Robert McGeary, Jr. both of Brooklyn, NY; niece Ellissa McGeary of Brooklyn, NY; four aunts Ollie Mae Mobley of Winterville, NC, Lois Ann Tindal of Queens Village, NY, Julius Rice of New Haven, CT, and Godmother “Aunt Sis” Vernestine Pascal of Flatbush, NY; Uncle Roosevelt Sanders, Jr. of Winterville, NC and a host of cousins and friends.
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