Pro-life leader Cookie Harris, wife of Rep. Andy Harris, passes away


WBFF reports:

FOX45 has confirmed that Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of MD Congressman Andy Harris, has died. Republican Andy Harris represents the 1st district of Maryland. This is a developing story; Stay with FOX45 for details.

WBAL-TV reported later that she died of a heart attack earlier today.

Cookie Harris was a native of Puerto Rico and attended Notre Dame of Maryland University. Andy and Cookie Harris had been married for over 30 years and have five children and two grandchildren. She has been active in Maryland Right to Life as their director of special events. I first met Mrs. Harris at a Students for Life event that the congressman was the speaker for in the DC area a few years ago. I know I had seen from her emails and online activity that she was again coordinating the volunteers for the MD RTL table at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium this week. has several statements including some of the ones listed below. They also have the release from the Congressman’s office:

“Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, beloved wife of over 30 years to Congressman Andy Harris, devoted mother of five and grandmother to two, and devout Catholic, unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, August 28. The family is thankful for the thoughts and prayers that so many have offered already and appreciates privacy during this time.”

Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore made the following statement (via Catholic Review):

“Mrs. Harris was a tireless supporter of life and fully dedicated herself to the belief that all human life is sacred. Though her death is a tremendous loss, especially to those in the pro-life community, her legacy will continue to live on in the countless lives she not only touched, but possibly saved, through her efforts to build a culture of life in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

Jeffrey Meister, legislative director for MD RTL, posted the following on Facebook:

Cookie was a vivacious woman and friend dedicated to the pro-life movement. I often worked with her on numerous projects and events. She will certainly be missed.

Here’s what MD RTL posted on Facebook:

It is with heavy hearts we must say our dear friend and coworker Cookie Harris has passed away today. She served as the Director of Special Events, working intimately to put together a successful annual banquet, biannual convention, and the Maryland State Fair, which continues through Labor Day. She will be missed.

Diana Waterman of the Maryland GOP made the following statement:

“It is with deep sadness and regret that The Maryland Republican Party has been informed of the passing of Mrs. Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of Congressman Andy Harris (Md-01). Mrs. Harris, a mother of five and grandmother of 2, was a devout catholic and strong advocate of the Maryland Right to Life organization. We are shocked and saddened by the news, Cookie was a truly wonderful person and the MDGOP’s thoughts, prayers and support go out to her family.”

Statement from Maryland Senate Republican Caucus:

“‘Cookie’ had a visible presence in Annapolis advocating on the issues she was so passionate about. All of the Senators had a wonderful relationship with her because of her political views and her never-tiring activism. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris and the family.”

A statement from GOP candidate for Governor Larry Hogan:

“Words cannot adequately express how heartbroken Yumi and I are to learn of Cookie Harris’s sudden and tragic death. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Andy and his children Joe, Becky, Irene, Jessica and Danny.”

Governor Martin O’Malley’s statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to Congressman Andy Harris on the tragic loss of his wife, Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Harris family.”

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown:

“I want to offer my deep and heartfelt condolences to Congressman Harris and his entire family on the tragic passing of Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. The thoughts and prayers of my family, and of all Marylanders, are with the Harris family at this difficult time,” Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said in a statement issued by his office.

A Baltimore Sun story has the below reactions:

“She was vivacious, and so outgoing and giving — she would help anyone with anything,” said Ellen R. Sauerbrey, a former state lawmaker and two-time Republican nominee for governor. “Being the wife of a person running for office is not easy, but Cookie was always very supportive.”


State Sen. Joseph M. Getty, a Carroll County Republican, called her “a true partner of Andy in his political endeavors.”

“But she was also frequently seen in Annapolis as an advocate for the issues she was passionate about.”


“She was a very fine woman,” said former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. She said she would remember Mrs. Harris on the campaign trail with kids in tow and a broad smile.

“She was extremely supportive of all of Andy’s efforts to take on the responsibilities that he did in Congress. She was a great mother, and I know they were a happy couple.”

Delegate Kelly Schulz’s comments:

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, the wife of Congressman Andy Harris. She was a great champion of justice for unborn children, a dear friend to many, and a great Marylander. We offer our prayers to the Harris family in this difficult time.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger:

“It is with great sadness that I offer my sincere condolences to the Harris family on the sudden loss of their devoted mother and wife. Cookie was an active leader in the Cockeysville community and her involvement will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris, his children and his family.”

I’m really just floored a bit by this news, and I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Harris family. I will be praying for the repose of the soul of Cookie Harris and I will also be praying for the whole Harris family now during their time of grief. I  would encourage everyone else to pray for them as well.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton