Gary Marvin Long, 68, of the Pleasant Plains community, died Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 at Lower Cape Fear Hospice and LifeCare Center. He was the son of the late Willie Marvin Long and Frances Marcella Arp Long and was preceded in death by his wife, Gail Bass Long; and daughter, Jennifer Marie Long.
His career spanned 46 years as a chemist and engineer, and his education included multiple advanced degrees including a BS, MS, and MBA. His certifications included the Certified Safety Professional, the Certified Industrial Hygienist, and he held the Waste Water Operator and Master Plumber licenses. He learned the plumbing trade from his father, as well as farming the land that has belonged to his family for at least six generations. He worked in nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and agri-business. Late in his career was deeply committed to the work of the Wilmington Safety School, a particular point of pride for him.
He openly encouraged his family, friends, and even strangers to pursue education of any form, believing deeply that it holds the power to improve the quality of life. He quietly and secretly gave financial support to many people for schooling.
He loved his family with steadiness and loyalty, expressing his affection with discipline and correction, tough honesty and analysis, as well as the regular pat on the back – but only when deserved. If you ever got his approval, you long remembered it. He will always be remembered for his goofy one-liners and jokes. He loved parties and social gatherings, enjoyed telling and hearing stories, and remained a life long learner until cancer overtook him.
Gary was known for his wit and wisdom, and his “sayings” will live on long past him. He frequently quipped, “I plan to die at the age of 93, having been shot by a jealous husband.” His numerous girlfriends will remember him fondly, too.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Pleasant Plains Baptist Church with Dr. David Heller and Rev. Mike Bowles officiating. Visitation will follow the service at the church. A private committal will be held at a later date. McKenzie Mortuary is handling the arrangements.
Survivors include his son, Gary M. Long Jr. (Traci Butler) of Cullowhee; one sister, Mary Sue Long Williamson (Randy) of Whiteville; and three grandchildren, Audrey Victoria Long, William Caleb Long and Maci Claire Long.
Memorials may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center, 206 Warrior Trail, Whiteville, N.C. 28472.