RAINEY, SHERLIE HEREFORD (3 Feb. 1939-7 Aug. 1992), mayor of WOODMERE (1985-89), was the first African-American woman to hold a mayoral position in Cuyahoga County. In 1991 she received the highest number of votes in the Woodmere Village Council race. Also an athlete, Rainey set an American record for the standing long jump (1958) and was National Amateur Athletic Union champion of that event for 3 years. She was elected to the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Rainey was born in Cleveland to Jessie and Beatrice (Smith) Hereford. She graduated from EAST TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL (1956) and studied at Talladega College in Alabama before graduating from CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY. She later attended CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY's School of Applied Social Sciences. Rainey taught at East Tech (1960s), worked with underprivileged minorities for the U.S. Department of Labor, and later became an independent insurance agent. On 24 Oct. 1969 Rainey married William F. Rainey, Jr.; they had 2 sons, William F. III and Charles E. She played the trumpet at the Evangelical Community Church in EUCLID, where she was a member.
Rainey won a position on the Woodmere City Council in 1977 and later served 2 terms as council president. Despite charges raised against her in 1988 for obstruction and in 1991 for financial mismanagement during her mayoral term, she was elected to the council again in 1991. Rainey died in Cleveland and was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery.