Sadly, Des Moines icon Wayne Corey, 80, who was instrumental in the development of the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market, passed away on Oct. 26, 2023.

Wayne Silas Corey was born in Raymond WA on Feb 8, 1943 to Bob and Janice Corey. Janice was a wonderful cook (one of Wayne’s passions) and a community volunteer (also Wayne’s passion). His Father passed away when he was 9 and he helped raise his younger brother, Dennis.

Wayne graduated from high school and attended Gray’s Harbor Community College where he played football and other sports. He moved to Seattle in 1966 for job opportunities and worked for many years for Stusser Electric. He loved to draw art and drew pictures for the kids to color with crayon.

When he retired from Barclay Dean Interiors, he and wife, Susan moved to the beautiful Des Moines area where he saw many opportunities to get involved. He was an active Rotary member and helped with fund raising events such as the wine festival. He was citizen advisor to South King Fire and EMS Advisory Committee and founding member of Police Chief George DelGato’s Advisory. He “got out the vote” with rallies for the levy lid lift to help fund policing.

He was an avid reader and gifted many books to libraries and organizations. He established a “lending” library in the lobby of his condo, so neighbors could have close access to books. He loved cats and was especially concerned for the plight of feral cats. He and wife Susan “borrowed” traps from the DMPD and took cats to the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project for surgery and vaccinations.

He was proudest of the work of growing the Des Moines Farmer’s Market with then Market Manager Rikki Marohl, board members and volunteers and of lobbying the State House for wine tasting in Farmer’s Markets, where he introduced people to wine and how to cook with wine, even producing a cookbook to raise funds for the market called “Cooking with Wine” and “sometimes even putting it in the food.” He urged almost everyone to become a sponsor with their donations, and established an endowment fund to make sure the market would continue to thrive long after his time there had passed on to others. In 2016, he and Marohl were named “Ambassadors of the Year” by the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority for their work with the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market.

Wayne is survived by his wife, Susan, along with three children, Justine, Mark (Beverly) and Candice along with four grandchildren, Madison, Baylee, Avah and Lucas. Brother, Dennis (Joyce), niece, Annbrittt and nephew, Derek.

He would urge you to please spay and neuter your pets. Any donations can be made to the Humane Society, Paws or the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project at:

4001 198th St. SW Ste 3
Lynnwood, WA 98036

The Corey Family would like to thank all those who called, e-mailed, visited, sent pictures, notes and waved to help keep his spirits up during the long months of his illness.

On a personal note, we were lucky enough to have worked closely with Wayne during his tenure as Board President for the DMFM. We found him kind, thoughtful, funny, charismatic and truly devoted to his community.

We send all our love and sympathies out to all who knew him.

“We miss you Wayne!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a memory of Wayne, please share it as a comment on this story.