Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver passed away last Tuesday at the age of 71. She was hospitalized for an unknown illness, as Governor Murphy traveled abroad on a family vacation in Italy.
The public will have the opportunity to pay their respects to her over the next few days. She will first lie in state in the rotunda at the New Jersey Statehouse today. Oliver will be escorted and accompanied by a rotating honor guard from the New Jersey State Police.
On Friday, Aug. 11, Oliver will return to Essex County, where she will lie in state at the Essex County Historic Courthouse with a rotating honor guard from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
OnSaturday, Aug. 12, a public memorial service will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Reverand Al Sharpton will deliver her eulogy, at the family’s request. Sharpton said in a statement that Oliver was a friend to him and the National Action Network and “someone whom we all considered to be a dependable and powerful partner in the fight for justice and equality.” After the service, Oliver will be interred in a private ceremony.
In addition to the memorial ceremonies, Governor Phil Murphy announced the commissioning of her official portrait for display in the New Jersey State House. A portrait will also be commissioned for Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who served as New Jersey’s first Lieutenant Governor.
“As we continue to remember the life and service of Lieutenant Governor Oliver, I am deeply moved to announce the commissioning of a portrait that will stand as a testament to her legacy,” said Governor Murphy. “Sheila’s unwavering dedication to the people of New Jersey has left an enduring mark on our state, one that will be immortalized in the halls of our State House forever.”
“Lieutenant Governors play pivotal roles in gubernatorial administrations, but to date, unlike former governors, they have not been recognized with official portraits,” continued Governor Murphy. “It is time to address this shortcoming and set a new standard to commemorate their time in public service. I couldn’t think of two more deserving candidates for these portraits than these two exceptional women who have served our state with distinction for decades.”