James E. Earley

  • Died: November 30, 2021
  • Location: Westwood, Massachusetts

Holden, Dunn & Lawler Funeral Home

55 High Rock St
Westwood, MA 02090

westwoodfh@verizon.net
Tel. (781) 326-0074

Tribute & Message From The Family


James E. Earley, of Westwood, MA, passed away on November 30. Beloved husband of Marion L. Earley and treasured father of Matthew R. Earley (and his wife Elizabeth) of Wellesley, Michael J. Earley of No. Falmouth, Brooke E. Asnis (and her husband Peter) of Wellesley and Daniel A. Earley of Westwood. Loving grandfather of Jane and Thomas Earley, William and Caroline Earley, Owen, Sydney and Catie Asnis. Brother of Mary Hunson of Gloucester and Deborah Fay of Alexandria, N.H., her husband Tom and loving uncle to their children, Sean, Kim, Kelly and Michael. He was predeceased by two brothers, George Earley and Robert Earley. Born in Brookline in 1939, he graduated from Brookline High School in 1957 after earning 11 varsity letters in 3 years of eligibility. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Management. After graduation, he served a National Recreation Association internship with the City of Philadelphia and directed the city's Camp William Penn in the Pocono Mountains, at that time, the only completely tax-supported residential camp in the country. In 1969 he became the Director of the Hale Reservation in Westwood and served in that capacity for 33 years, transforming the 1200-acre facility into the largest day camp complex in the country and serving 2,000 campers each day. Upon his retirement in 2001, the Boston Globe wrote, "When Earley arrived at Hale, forced busing in Boston was pitting neighborhood against neighborhood. So Earley, with the help of the board and his staff pioneered the concept of bringing children from very different backgrounds together, on neutral ground, in wholesome activities." He was a former President of the American Camp Association, New England and Treasurer of the national American Camp Association from whom he received the Distinguished Service Award. Graveside services will be private and a celebration of his life is planned for the spring. Donations in his memory may be made to The Trustees of Reservations, 200 High Street, Boston, MA 02110 (thetrustees.org) or the Willow Hill School, 98 Haynes Road, Sudbury, MA 01776.


Condolence & Memory Journal

So sorry for Mimi and family...Jim was a great friend and wonderful mentor to me during my formative years at Hale! He passes as a legend...may he Rest In Peace...he deserves that!!! Thanks for your vision and providing many wonderful years at Hale

Posted by Barbara Fricke - Friend   January 03, 2022

Worked at Hale as a kid mid 70's my first real job . Jim was a great guy to work with . My condolences to his family may he Rest in Peace .

Posted by Bill Donovan - Medfield, MA - Acquaintance   January 03, 2022

Seeing your name in print brings back many good memories I experienced while working at Hale. Many positive improvements to Hale Reservation under your leadership, R,I,P,,,,

Posted by Frank Earley , (no relation) - Friend   December 08, 2021

Had my first job working at Hale in the summer as a teenager, Jim Early was a Great man! Sorry to hear about him passing.

Posted by Steve Mitchell    December 08, 2021

Jim was such an asset for the American Camp Association. I enjoyed serving with him for a number of years. Thank you for sharing his talents with all of us across the United States.

Posted by Suz Welch - Other   December 07, 2021

The entire Earley family shared Jim with all of us for so many years. Thank you. He defined kindness and generosity. A wonderful fisherman and earnest outdoorsman. He did so much for so many.

Posted by Steven August    December 03, 2021

The Walsh family sends their condolences to the entire early family. We grew up in Brookline with Jimmy and his 2 brothers and sister, their parents were two of the best people I have ever met, Rita and George (therDad) were always helping folks in Brookline out, great family. I spent many hours on school street with the Early family. May Jim rest in peace.

Posted by Gerry Walsh - Walpole, MA - Friend   December 03, 2021

I met Jim in 1963 at Camp William Penn, and our friendship has lasted all these years. I echo what Tom said about Jim's influence and modesty. He changed the lives of countless children and young adults. I learned life lessons from Jim that guiXde me today.
Our families grew close, as we visited them every year at their home at Hale. Jim was a great person in every way, and he leaves a strong leagcy in his children and grandchildren, and beautiful wife, Mimi.

Posted by Fran Gallun - Haddnfield, NJ - Family Friend   December 03, 2021

My sincere condolences on Jim's passing. What a powerful example of what an individual can do to transform the world. What he created at Hale Reservation impacted thousands and thousands of young people year after year. Campers and counselors had life changing experiences and gained insight and perspective from each other. As a previous ropes course director at the camp and a witness to all the wonderful experiences he organized for the campers. It was amazing that he could walk among them and they would be unaware that he was the one responsible for all the fun and friendships they enjoyed. At times there were up to 25 camps using Hale during the summer. Many campers learned to sail, swim, climb and learn about nature due to his efforts. It was a privilege to know him.

Posted by Tom Brandon - Work   December 03, 2021