slides: Central Mass Remembers Congressman Joseph Early
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Former Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Early passed away on Friday after decades of service in the State House and Washington. GoLocalWorcester takes a look back at his contributions to Central Mass.
All photographs are from the Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester MA.
Joseph Early was born in 1933 in Worcester and attended local Catholic schools all the way through college.
At the College of the Holy Cross, he was the captain of the basketball team during the 1954-1955 season.
After graduation, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy, serving two years aboard the U.S.S. Dashiel from 1955 until 1957.
Tenure on Beacon Hill
After several years as a teacher at St. John's Prep in Shrewsbury and the David Prouty High School in Spencer, Early ran for State Representative and won his first election in November of 1962.
City Councilor Konnie Lukes said many new candidates running for office would recall Early's first race for inspiration.
"He won his first election by one vote," she said. "That always reminds some of us of the fact that you fight for every single vote and you don't give up."
Early went on to serve six terms in the State House of Representatives, including four years as Vice-Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
UMass Medical School
Early Goes to Washington
Early won his first Congressional election in the Fall of 1974, when he succeeded retiring Representative Harold Donohue to take the seat for the Third Massachusetts Congressional District.
During his first term in Washington, Early served on the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State, Commerce, Justice and the Judiciary, as well as the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.
In subsequent years, he would also serve on the Labor, Health, Human Services and Education subcommittee.
The End of an Era
Early served in the U.S. House of Representatives until 1992, when he lost his reelection bid to Republican challenger Peter Blute.
"Joe Early was a good man and a great politician," said Blute, who held the Third Congressional District seat until 1997.
A Legacy in Worcester
Patrick Recalls Service
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Congressman Joe Early,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
“Joe’s dedication to public service and the people of central Massachusetts paved the way for many public servants who followed in his footsteps.
"His unwavering commitment to creating a better Commonwealth will be deeply missed by his former colleagues and constituents.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Early family as we mourn the loss of former Massachusetts Congressman Joe Early,” said Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray.
“Joe was a tenacious advocate for both central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth, first serving in the state legislature then in the U.S. Congress.
"From his leadership in establishing UMass Medical School in Worcester to securing federal NIH funding to benefit health and science research in Massachusetts, today the Commonwealth continues to build on his successes and his legacy will never be forgotten.”
Early Name Lives On
The former Congressman's son, Joseph Early, Jr., grew up in Worcester like his father and has remained an important fixture in the community as Worcester County District Attorney.
Early, Sr.'s family was grateful for the outpouring of support from the region following his passing.
"We'd like to thank all the people who have reached out to express their condolences at this time. We are very proud of our father's life work. He showed that helping people truly is a noble profession. "
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