Letter to the Editor from Past NJSNA President
During the more than 30 years of her service to the citizens of Essex County and New Jersey we were fortunate to have former Assembly Speaker and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, a dedicated and devoted public servant, in our midst. For me, as the Republican Mayor of Fairfield, Director of the Essex County Hospital Center, and Essex County Freeholder representing District IV, it was a time when few women held such leadership positions and Sheila Oliver willingly served as a mentor and role model for me. I will leave it to the many local and state political friends of Lt. Governor Oliver to talk about her voluminous accomplishments, however I would like to add my personal remembrances and add my feelings of loss to those of her family, friends and colleagues.
Sheila was a very skillful administrator whose education focused on planning and administering community services and programs for those in greatest need. She felt deeply for those impoverished with little hope and dreams and devoted her lifetime work on their behalf. The Sheila Y. Oliver Academy in East Orange serves as a living tribute to this amazing leader. With her background as a social worker and mine as a registered nurse we understood these human challenges far beyond the politics.
Lt. Governor Oliver didn’t care that she was a Democrat and I was a Republican. We were able to discuss political differences and offered each other mutual respect. I was privileged to spend 4 years serving in the same administration with her and she never disappointed. She was always on top of her game and knew how to get things done without all the drama.
I hope women today can seek out role models like Lt. Governor Oliver who may not necessarily be of the same political persuasion. And I am thankful I had the benefit of a strong woman leader with such wisdom, compassion and commitment to service to guide me and be in my life.
I offer my deepest sympathy and gratitude to Sheila’s family and my prayers that God is rewarding her for doing his work here on earth. May she rest in peace,
Muriel M. Shore
Past President of NJSNA