Boehlert on murder victim Bogan: ‘I loved him. I respected him’

Jessica Ryen Doyle

Friends and family of the former deputy county executive killed Friday afternoon described Edward Bogan as a “loving” person who was devoted to his large family.

“He was like a brother,” said former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert in a phone interview from his home in Delaware Friday evening. “I would describe him as one of the finest, most decent human beings on this earth.”

Bogan, 81, was found dead inside his apartment at Clinton House Apartments on Kirkland Avenue in Clinton Friday afternoon by a downstairs neighbor. 

Police were not disclosing the apparent cause of death Friday. 

Suspect Kevin Adams, 19, of Utica Street, Clinton, turned himself in to New Hartford police shortly after the slaying and said he killed his grandfather, according to Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara, and is being held at Oneida County jail without bail. 

Boehlert, Bogan connection

Boehlert said he met Bogan in 1970 when Bogan was a teacher of history and government at New Hartford Senior High School, and the school district sent him on a sabbatical to Washington, D.C. 

At the time, Boehlert was administrative assistant to former Congressman Alexander Pirnie, and that’s when the deep friendship began, Boehlert said. 

“He was my campaign manager in 1979 when I ran for county executive, and we upset conventional wisdom,” Boehlert said. 

Boehlert went on to describe upon winning the county executive seat, he decided to appoint Bogan his deputy county executive; however, his teenager daughter Leslie wasn’t too happy with his decision. 

“I’m sitting at the dinner table,” Boehlert recalled Friday night, “and Leslie said, ‘all the kids at school are mad at you, Dad.’ I asked why. She said, ‘Because you took Mr. Bogan away from us.’ That is a true story.”

Later, when Boehlert was elected to Congress, Boehlert said he appointed Bogan director of district operations. 

“He was just so highly respected by everyone he came into contact with,” Boehlert said. “Talk to anyone in county government on either side of the political aisle and they have nothing but the highest praise for Ed Bogan.”

Bogan and Boehlert spoke over the phone Sunday friends, Boehlert said, and on the same day of Bogan’s death, Boehlert received a clipping of a recent O-D history column by Frank Tomaino in which Bogan was mentioned. 

The history column detailed a day 25 years ago when “the area’s new Congressman . . . appoints four top staff members ... Edward Bogan will head Boehlert’s regional office in Utica.” 

“Typically, there was no note,” Boehlert said. “I knew where it came from. I loved him. I respected him. … He always had a nice smile and said, ‘how are you doing?’” 

“I’m trying to absorb it’

Mary Cosgrove, Bogan’s sister-in-law, said the family is in mourning. 

“I’m trying to absorb it,” said Cosgrove, 69, who also lives in Clinton. “It’s just so very difficult. It’s a tragedy.”

Cosgrove’s sister, Eilene, who died in 1990, was married to Bogan, and they were dedicated in raising their children, Cosgrove said. 

“They married in their early 20s,” said Cosgrove, who recalled being a bridesmaid at the wedding. “It was a lovely day.”

A retired school psychologist, Cosgrove said she last spoke to Bogan around Christmastime.

“I certainly mourn the loss of Ed,” Cosgrove said. “I am also sad about the person who committed this act, and I would pray nonviolence would become more of a way of living. I’ve been very active in the peace and justice movement all my life, and I just ask that people not judge, but rather send their thoughts and prayers to Ed and all his family.”

‘A great guy’

Around 6 p.m. Friday, Jack Lane, who owns Clinton Shoe Center on West Park Row, said he was shocked to hear of Bogan’s death, especially since the affluent village is not synonymous with crime. 

Lane described Bogan as an active senior citizen who was in good health. 

“I’ve known him 40 years, maybe,” Lane said Friday night. “He was just a great guy. Generally, Ed walks by my store every morning. He always had a nice smile and said, ‘hi, how are you doing?’”

Bogan is survived by his seven children, several grandchildren and at least one great-grandchild, Cosgrove said. 

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Owens-Pavlot Funeral Service out of Clinton.