Accident claims political science dept. head

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Summer Wildcat

University of Arizona Professor Edward N. Muller III, head of the political science department, devoted much of his life to the study of political science and to his love for riding and caring for horses.

But a Friday afternoon ride on Tradewinds, his youngest horse, turned tragic when he was found unconscious in a desert area near his Northeast-side home. He was found about 8 p.m. by a neighbor, who became concerned earlier when he saw Tradewinds return without Muller.

Muller died early Saturday morning at TMC from severe head injuries sustained from the riding accident. He was 52.

Because he was riding alone it is uncertain whether Muller was thrown from the horse or whether he had been kicked.

"He loved horses, they were one of his great loves in life," said Muller's daughter Alexandra. "I'm thankful that at least he was doing what he loved at the time. I'm sure he had a great ride on Friday before the accident."

Muller was head of the UA Political Science Department for the past two years and had taught here since 1977.

John Garcia, a political science professor and department head before Muller, said that besides juggling his normal work load, Muller was preparing to finish a book on democratization and what factors help establish a stable democracy. Two of Muller's good friends and colleagues are planning to finish the book titled, "Democracy, Inequality and American Power."

Garcia said as department head, Muller had made significant efforts to decrease class sizes and increase student/teacher interaction.

"He realized this would cut into his research," Garcia said. "But he wanted to concern himself more with teaching. He definitely made some conscious sacrifices to improve student/teacher relationships."

Now, Garcia said, the goal of the department will be to continue in the direction plotted by Muller.

"There has been so much progress made by him," Garcia said. "It's critical to keep what he's been trying to do going."

James Todd, an adjunct assistant professor in the political science department, said although Muller's schedule kept him busy, his first priority was the students.

"Ned made himself very accessible to students," Todd said. "He was responsive to them and very positive. He was very supportive of me personally and I really appreciated that."

Alexandra said her father loved his work and discussed it with her often. She said he rode horses everyday after work and on the weekends to relax.

"That was what he loved," Alexandra said. "He always said he wanted to ride horses forever."

Muller was an expert horseman and had participated in several endurance horse races and owned four Arabian horses. Tradewinds was the youngest but an older horse named J.P. was Muller's favorite.

"I can remember one time when J.P. was sick my dad went and spent the night with him in his stable just to make sure he was O.K.," Alexandra said.

Muller came to UA after teaching at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Muller is survived by his wife, Peggy; daughters Alexandra and Sarah of Tucson; a son Edward N. Muller IV of Philadelphia; his mother and father, Mary and Edward N. Muller Jr. of Tucson, and two brothers, Richard of Philadelphia and Sam of Los Angeles.

Services were held yesterday afternoon at East Lawn Palms Mortuary and Cemetery.

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