“His unwavering commitment to creating a better Commonwealth will be deeply missed by his former colleagues and constituents,” Patrick said in a news release.
Early’s family said in a statement yesterday that loved ones were very proud of his life’s work.
“He showed that helping people truly is a noble profession,” they said.
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, eight children and 23 grandchildren.
When officials dedicated a post office in his hometown in his honor about a decade ago, Early said he enjoyed the thought of his grandchildren passing by the building in years to come and knowing it had his name.