UTICA, N.Y. – Longtime local Congressman Sherwood “Sherry” Boehlert has passed away at the age of 84.
Boehlert was born in Utica and attended Utica College. He also served in the U.S. Army prior to his political career.
Boehlert was Oneida County Executive from 1979 to 1983, and then served 12 consecutive terms as the local Republican representative in Congress for the area for 24 years from 1983 until his retirement in 2007. During that time, the lines of the local Congressional districts were redrawn three times, so he represented a total of 16 upstate counties throughout his career.
Because of his work on the 1990 Clean Air Act and climate change issues, the National Journal dubbed Boehlert “The Green Hornet” for his efforts to protect the environment.
He also worked tirelessly to revitalize the local economy. One of his notable achievements was securing a major component of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services to Griffiss Business and Technology Park during the Clinton administration.
To see a list of all of the legislation sponsored by Boehlert during his time in Congress, click here.
Boehlert's passion for science and education also earned him the role of chairman of the House Science Committee from 2001 - 2007.
Boehlert has been honored as the namesake of several local landmarks as well.
In 2003, Union Station in Utica was renamed the Boehlert Transportation Center at Union Station in his honor. Rome Lab also recognized the former congressman by establishing the Sherwood Boehlert Center of Excellence for Information Science and Technology in 2008.
Boehlert is survived by his wife, Marianne, four children and their spouses, and several grandchildren.
His calling hours will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 3 - 6 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at the church Monday at 10 a.m.
Local leaders say Boehlert will be greatly missed, but his hard work and accomplishments will always be remembered.
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22
Sherry Boehlert represented our region for decades, first as County Executive and then in Congress. He was a fierce advocate for Upstate and a dedicated member of our community. I thank him for his service. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
— Congresswoman Tenney (@RepTenney) September 21, 2021
Joseph Griffo, R-47
“Today we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual. Sherry was a dedicated and accomplished public servant who had an extraordinary career and proudly served his community and constituents with honor and distinction. He will be greatly missed and remembered fondly. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Marianne, his children and his family and friends who are grieving this loss.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente
“I’m am deeply saddened by the passing of my long-time friend Sherwood Boehlert. Sherry was the epitome of what an elected official should be: dedicated, hardworking, effective and always willing to reach a hand across the aisle. During his long and distinguished congressional career he fought hard for the people of Oneida County, always giving us a strong voice with an emphasis on issues of science, technology and the environment," said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. "I was privileged to have worked on his first campaign for Oneida County Executive in 1979 and I owe much of my own career to his guidance. Eleanor and I’s thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marianne and their entire family during this difficult time. I have ordered flags on all county buildings to be lowered to half-staff in his honor.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer
“I’m saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend, former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert. Sherry and I were colleagues in the House of Representatives for fifteen years and our friendship transcended partisanship and even included sharing a locker at the House gym,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer. “The rewards of Sherry’s dedication to his district can be seen today: whether at the former Griffiss Air Force base following the revitalization he spearheaded or as the Adirondacks teem with fish and loons thanks in no small part his work on acid rain. Sherry’s rich legacy, his support of science, his commitment to combating climate change, and his deep love for the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley will live on for generations to come. My sincere condolences to his wife Marianne, children, and all who loved him.”