Irving Howards

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AMHERST - Irving Howards, 87, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, husband, father, grandfather, friend, died suddenly Monday, April 8, 2013, at home in Amherst.

He was born June 23, 1925, in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Howards volunteered at 17 to serve in the signal corps and was a radio operator in the European theater following the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. He met his wife Frieda while home on leave as the country was celebrating Victory in Europe.

With the help of the GI Bill, Howards earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Madison and after changing his name from Horowitz to escape the anti-Semitism of the time, became a professor of political science. He founded the Hillel at Southern Illinois University and helped create the Jewish Community of Amherst.

Passionate about lessening societal inequality, Howards authored books and articles on the matter while a professor at schools including the University of Illinois Champaign, Kent University in Canterbury, England, and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he also directed its Public Affairs Research Bureau. At UMass, he served as the director of the Bureau of Government Research and chaired a committee to establish the Institute of Government Affairs. Howards was deeply involved with AARP and served as chair of its national legislative committee and traveled the world – often on a bike -- with his wife.

Interested in government on a local and national level, Howards chaired the Amherst Planning Committee, the Council on Aging, the recent Charter Commission and served for many years as a member of Town Meeting. Howards was active in the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, and was involved in the planning for Israel's Environmental Protection Agency.

Howards was predeceased by three brothers and a sister.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Frieda; children Marsha (Howards) Semuels, Steve and Mark; and their spouses Joel Semuels, Deborah Andrews and Anita Howards; grandchildren Alana, Andrew, Lissa, Casey, Emily, Koby and Jonah; and many relatives and friends who will sorely miss his kindness, intelligence and wit.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research,, Grand
Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, NY, NY 10163-4777

Obituary and memorial register at

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette from Apr. 9 to Apr. 12, 2013