Professor Emeritus Early to Be Inurned at Arlington National Cemetery

Posted: August 17, 2009 at 12:01 am, Last Updated: August 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

By Robin Herron

Stephen T. Early Jr., 86, professor emeritus of government and politics, died in late June of cardiac arrest following surgery. He will be inurned at the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m.

Early lived near Houston, Tex., at the time of his death.

According to his former colleague Barbara Knight, associate professor emerita of public and international affairs, Early joined Mason in the early 1970s when it was becoming an independent institution.

He initially headed what was then the division of social sciences, which encompassed economics, sociology, anthropology, geography and other areas. Early then “midwifed them into separate departments,” says Knight. Eventually, the professor settled into the Department of Public and International Affairs.

Knight and Early were co-authors on two books, “Responsible Government: American and British” and “Prisoners’ Rights in America.” He also wrote “Constitutional Courts of the U.S.” and “American National Government.”

“He was absolutely wonderful,” Knight says. “A marvelous department chair. Such a good leader, colleague and friend.”

Knight recalls that Early instituted small seminar courses where upperclassmen could get to know their professors well and vice versa.

Early served in the U.S. Army in World War II and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was badly wounded in the war, says Knight.

Before joining Mason, Early taught at DePauw University. He interviewed at the University of Michigan and Wake Forest University but decided to join the Mason faculty “because of the opportunity for creating new courses, departments, etc. at a young and growing institution,” Knight says. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia.

After retiring in 1986, Early and his wife, Sue, moved to Tampa, Fla., and later to Texas, where they lived on a ranch and raised horses.

Early grew up in Washington, D.C. His father served in the Roosevelt administration as press secretary and later as deputy secretary for defense in the Truman administration.

In addition to his wife, Early is survived by a daughter, Andrea.

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