Wayne Huizenga, en­trepreneur, philanthropist, sports mogul

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - Staff Re­port

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: The obit­u­ary was pro­vided by the Huizenga fam­ily and edited for con­text.

H. Wayne Huizenga, en­trepreneur, busi­ness leader, philanthropist and beloved pa­tri­arch of the Huizenga fam­ily has passed on to be with his Heav­enly Fa­ther. He was 80 years old. Huizenga was a hum­ble man who al­ways wanted to sim­ply be known as “Wayne.” Whether you were a For­tune 100 CEO or the valet at the front door, he treated ev­ery­body with the same re­spect and friend­li­ness. As a long­time Fort Laud­erdale res­i­dent, he played a ma­jor role in the busi­ness and so­cial growth of the com­mu­nity.

Wayne was born in the Chicago area on De­cem­ber 29, 1937. He moved to Fort Laud­erdale as a young man and at­tended High School at Pine Crest School. He fell in love with Fort Laud­erdale and made it his per­ma­nent home; rais­ing his fam­ily and build­ing mul­ti­ple busi­nesses there. He passed in his house on the New River sur­rounded by fam­ily af­ter a decades long bat­tle with can­cer.

Through­out his pro­fes­sional ca­reer Wayne never for­got his beloved Fort Laud­erdale. He head­quar­tered his com­pa­nies there, re­cruit­ing the best and bright­est to join him and, in the process, cre­ated thou­sands of jobs. He ac­tively en­gaged in com­mu­nity lead­er­ship and en­cour­aged his em­ploy­ees to do so as well. He and his wife Marti do­nated well over $150 mil­lion to lo­cal causes. Wayne was known for his quick sense of hu­mor (he loved a good joke), in­fec­tious laugh, kind­ness to all and for his self­less­ness. He al­ways wanted to make sure ev­ery­one had a good time.

Wayne be­gan his re­mark­able busi­ness ca­reer with the pur­chase of a sin­gle garbage truck in 1962. He built a thriv­ing busi­ness which lead to his co-found­ing Waste Man­age­ment (“WMI”) in 1971. By 1981, WMI was the largest waste com­pany in the world. He “re­tired” from WMI and soon formed what be­came Huizenga Hold­ings (“HHI”). Over the en­su­ing years he be­gan pur­chas­ing a se­ries of ser­vice com­pa­nies in South Florida.

His next big ven­ture, how­ever, was Block­buster which he dis­cov­ered in 1987. He head­quar­tered Block­buster in Fort Laud­erdale and over the next seven years he cre­ated thou­sands of jobs while grow­ing the com­pany from 19 stores to over 3,700 in 11 coun­tries.WMI and Block­buster both be­came For­tune 500 com­pa­nies listed on the NYSE.

Af­ter sell­ing Block­buster in 1994, and gen­er­at­ing at­trac­tive re­turns for the share­hold­ers, Wayne ac­quired con­trol of Repub­lic Waste In­dus­tries (which be­came Repub­lic Ser­vices), a small re­gional garbage com­pany in At­lanta Ge­or­gia, in 1995. He quickly re­lo­cated the com­pany to Fort Laud­erdale and grew it into the third largest waste dis­posal com­pany in the U.S. In a 13-month pe­riod Wayne be­came Chair­man of four NYSE com­pa­nies: Repub­lic Ser­vices, Auto-Na­tion, Ex­tended Stay Amer­ica and the Florida Pan­thers (which later be­came Boca Re­sorts). Dur­ing this same time, he was owner and chair­man of the Mi­ami Dol­phins, Florida Mar­lins and Florida Pan­thers.

Wayne was the only per­son in his­tory to take six com­pa­nies to the NYSE; lead three For­tune 500 com­pa­nies and own three ma­jor league sports fran­chisees at the same time. Wayne’s achieve­ments and gen­eros­ity were widely rec­og­nized. He was hon­ored by the Ho­ra­tio Al­ger As­so­ci­a­tion, named “World En­trepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young and named “Man of the Cen­ten­nial” for Fort Laud­erdale’s 100th An­niver­sary, among many oth­ers. He also took the lead in cre­at­ing of the Huizenga School of Busi­ness and En­trepreneur­ship at Nova South­east­ern Univer­sity. Wayne demon­strated that where in­no­va­tion and lead­er­ship con­verge, it can be the spark for achieve­ment in the global mar­ket­place.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice will be held at the Au-Rene The­ater at the Broward Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter promptly at 10:00 AM on Thurs­day morn­ing March 29. In lieu of flow­ers do­na­tions can be made to the Cleve­land Clinic of Florida Ma­roone Can­cer Cen­ter, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Ju­nior Achieve­ment of South Florida and/or the Nova South­easter n Univer­sity H. Wayne Huizenga Col­lege of Busi­ness and En­trepreneur­ship Schol­ar­ship Fund.

Wayne is sur­vived by his four chil­dren; Wayne Jr., Pamela, Scott and Ray and his 11 grand­chil­dren, Sa­van­nah, Tres, Gerr itt, Ains­ley, Ja­cob, Shelby, Chloe, Matthew, Hanah, Josh and Gabriella, his sis­ter Bon­nie, his niece Holly Bo­den­we­ber, his nephew Steven Hud­son and his brother-in-law Whit Hud­son. His wife Marti pre-de­ceased him in Jan­uary 2017.


Lo­cal leg­end with an in­ter­na­tional reach, H.Wayne Huizenga, has died.

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