L. Gerald Bursey of Newtonville, a scholar and iconic professor of political science at Northeastern University for over 53 years until his retirement in January, passed away peacefully July 2, after a brief illness. Professor Bursey, the beloved son of the late Rev. Dr. Harold and Constance (Norman) Bursey, was born in Montreal, Jan. 1, 1928. A voracious reader from an early age, he began his scholarly path at 14 when he was hired by the Montreal Star to write book reviews. After graduating with highest honors from McGill University, Professor Bursey entered Harvard Universitys Department of Government, where he received his PhD under the supervision of the legendary William Y. Elliot. Reflecting upon his long career, Professor Bursey often spoke of two events of which he was most proud. The first was an invitation to deliver a lecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, the namesake of which he called the first true political scientist. Professor Bursey noted that while Aristotle certainly didnt have all the answers, he knew the key to finding those answers was never to shy away from asking hard, probing questions. He regretted that such intellectual honesty seemed long-ago to have faded from our discourse. The second was watching Northeastern grow from a commuter school in the early 1960s to the internationally prestigious academic institution it has become today. He hoped he played some small role in that evolution. Professor Bursey is survived by two aunts, Jennie Doughty of Marshfield and Joan Herder of Newfoundland; and two cousins, Doris Crary and her husband Dennis Badore of Scituate and Judith Malich and her husband Kenneth Malich of Colorado. Friends, family and colleagues are invited to attend services at the Forsyth Chapel, Forest Hills Cemetery, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. A wake is at 11 a.m., followed by a service at 12 p.m. Memorial services will be held Sunday, Aug. 24, at 1 p.m. in the Oceanside Inn, 8 Oceanside Drive, Scituate, and Sept. 18, 2014, at 3 p.m., at the Sacred Space, 200 Ell Building, Northeastern University. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Department of Political Science Gift Fund, 301 Meserve Hall, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115. Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home Belmont 617-484-6900
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Published in The Patriot Ledger on July 15, 2014