Obituary for C. Eileen Early
WATERVLIET C. Eileen Early, 87, at rest February 10, 2018 after a brief illness. Born in Schenectady, daughter of the late Joseph A. Early, Esq. and C. Loretto (Powers) Early. Besides her parents she was also predeceased by a brother, Joseph A. Early, Jr. .She was a graduate of the former St. John the Evangelist School in Schenectady, Albany’s Academy of the Holy Names, the University of Rochester, and she held a Master of Science degree in Technical Writing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Following several years as an editor for the World Book Company in Yonkers, NY, she won appointment as an assistant professor (English) at the University of Idaho. After just one year in Idaho, she chose to enter in 1958 a newly formed community of religious in Chicago, the Dominican Mission Sisters. Following her profession of vows in 1961 as Sister Mary Joseph, O.P., she led the first group of her sisters to staff the parish school in Trujillo, Peru. The school prospered, the staff grew, and a new convent was built in the parish.
Changing circumstances in Chicago and in the Church’s commitments in Latin America led to a reversal in the Dominican Mission Sisters’ destiny. Within the decade, the sisterhood was disbanded, and its two U.S. convents and its seven mission houses in South America (including Trujillo) were closed; the individual sisters were offered the option of transferring to other congregations or returning to the lay state. Eileen chose the latter and returned to her family’s Schenectady home.
During her years there, she worked for New York State (chiefly in the Departments of Transportation and Labor) and served two trimesters on the English Department faculty at Hudson Valley Community College. All the while, she cultivated her hobby in family genealogy that brought her into contact with hundreds of relatives in Ireland, the United States, and elsewhere; she amassed an carefully organized voluminous files in large cabinets in her home. She was especially proud that she succeeded in documenting her great-grandfather’s service in the Union Army in the 1860s and at length won him a veteran’s grave marker in his hometown of Fort Edward, NY.
Her desire for further education led her back to RPI where, in 1973, she was awarded a PH.D. degree in Language and Literature. Her dissertation, published in 1980 as Joy in Exile, was devoted to the Narrative Art of Ciro Alegria, a respected Peruvian author.
Although she had bought a home in Watervliet, she thought to consolidate the benefits of her advanced degree, experience in travel, and knowledge of languages. She researched opportunities for a person with these qualifications and decided to apply for the United States foreign service. Her application was accepted by the Department of State and she was selected to serve in Matamoros (Mexico), London, and Washington. A ten year career ended with her retirement in 1994.
She continued to travel and write through the more than twenty years after her return home to Watervliet.
Her survivors include two sisters, L. Therese and Elizabeth Early, a brother, James D. Early and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Funeral services will be Friday February 16 at 8:45 a.m. from Parker Brothers Funeral Home, 2013 Broadway, Watervliet and at 9:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in North Albany where the Mass of Christian Burial will be offered. Interment will be in St Agnes Cemetery, Menands, in her maternal grandparents’ lot.
Calling hours to which family and friends are invited will be held at Parker Brothers Funeral Home on Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m.
Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Our Lady of Grace Monastery, 11 Race Hill Rd, North Guilford, CT 06437.
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