After battling cancer the last five years, Howard V. Gary, 62, died Sunday at his home in Hollywood, Fla., surrounded by family.

Gary, an investment banker, underwriter, and securities dealer based in South Florida, was Miami's first African American and youngest city manager, serving from 1981 to 1984. Prior to that, Gary was the city's budget director. He also was the budget director for Newark, N.J.

In 1988, Gary and business partner Kishor Parekh purchased M Securities Investment Inc. and operated under the name of Howard Gary & Co., which today remains one of the oldest minority-owned firms.

In the late 1990s, Gary cooperated with federal prosecutors investigating pay-to-play schemes in Florida. He later became a government witness in a South Florida public corruption probe, which later became a hindrance when his firm sought municipal underwriting business.

In addition to being Miami's city manager, Gary worked with numerous organizations, including as a trustee for Jackson Memorial Hospital where he helped implement a number of fiscal policies to improve the public hospital's financial practices.

"He was a very good shepherd of the public purse," said Parekh, who also is a family friend. "When he left the city, he left it with a $39 million surplus."

Gary was brilliant because of his ability to grasp complex financing structures and explain them to the lay person, Parekh said, adding that their firm pioneered the first, longest-dated, and largest swap in the country.

"He always believed everyone who had an ability should have an opportunity. He was the kind of guy who would hold the same regard for a janitor as he would a chief executive of a multibillion dollar securities firm," Parekh said. "Public finance has lost a great innovator."

Gary is survived by his wife, Joyce, a daughter, Nekia, three sons, Kito, Issa, and Jordan, and a brother, William H. Gary.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Miami. Funeral arrangements are being made by James C. Boyd Funeral Home in Fort Lauderdale.

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