Photo courtesy of Life Transitions.

A long-time local politician has passed away.

Jerry Pickard served as Liberal MP in the former ridings of Essex-Kent and Chatham-Kent-Essex from 1988 until he retired in 2005, succeeded in Ottawa by Conservative Dave Van Kesteren.

Prior to his political career, Pickard worked as a teacher in both Kent and Essex County. He shifted to municipal politics in Kingsville in 1974 before stepping up to the federal level. He held a number of roles in Ottawa, including Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Parliamentary Secretary to Industry, Parliamentary Secretary of Public Works, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. In 2003, Pickard was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada.

Over the years, Pickard was very involved in the community, serving as the President of the Chatham Jaycees, and a member of Kingsville Kinsmen Club, Kingsville Lions Club, Chatham Rotary Club, St. Georges Masonic Lodge, and coached youth Soccer, Baseball and a Chess Club and managed the Servers Guild at the Church of the Epiphany. He and his wife Caroline also volunteered for Operation Red Nose and Meals-on-Wheels.

He passed away on Tuesday, his 58th wedding anniversary, at the age of 80.

No funeral service is planned.