WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Family, friends and former constituents said farewell on Wednesday to former U.S. Rep. Joseph Early of Worcester at a funeral Mass in his hometown.
Hundreds who packed Blessed Sacrament Church sang his favorite hymn, the Christmas carol ‘‘Joy to the World’’ to end the service. Early, also a longtime Massachusetts legislator, served in Congress from 1975 to 1993. He died Nov. 9 at the age of 79.
The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reports (http://bit.ly/QHon3P) that Early’s son, District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., said in a eulogy his father never took credit for the many initiatives he had been involved in, believing instead that deferring to others made for better cooperation.
As a state legislator, Early worked for critical funding for the University of Massachusetts Medical School complex in Worcester. In Congress he also supported education and scientific research.
Early’s daughter, Eileen Early Maltais, said her father believed education was the best way for people to get out of poverty, and that her parents taught their children to care for those in need.
Early is survived by his wife Marilyn and seven children.
Former congressmen Joseph Kennedy II and James Shannon, who served with Early, and a fellow former state lawmaker, Shannon O'Brien, were among the political figures attending. Eleven priests, including two from the College of the Holy Cross, where Early was a basketball star, participated in the service.
Monsignor Francis Scollen of St. Peter’s Parish, who gave the homily, said ‘‘Joe Early never forgot where he came from.’’
Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com