Marie Long (aka Mary Ann) was born to Dick and Evelyn Lehner (themselves born of German and Polish immigrants) on July 9, 1928, in Southside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Catholic school as a child and graduated from Bethel High School in 1946.
It was as a cheerleader there that she met her "high school sweetheart" and future husband, Robert A. Long. She worked as a waitress at Rosenbaum's Tea Room during high school and after while she waited for Bob to finish school. After his graduation, they eloped to Oakland, Maryland, where they were married on March 7, 1949. While Bob attended college at the University of Pittsburgh, they settled into an apartment near Marie's parents.
Their first child, Linda, was born in the fall of that year. Their second child, David, was born five years later as Bob was graduating from college. Less than two years later, in 1956, their lives changed dramatically when Bob's work at Westinghouse offered him a transfer to the National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Pittsburgh-raised Marie was not too excited about the move to a place she couldn't even locate on a map, especially when Bob brought her pictures of the local wildlife that he had secretly taken at the Tautphaus Park Zoo. In spite of her trepidation and tears, he took the job and they moved the family cross-country. In 1958, they bought a house on 9th Street, where Bob still resides.
Marie was active in the St. John's Episcopal Guild. She also worked in the church's Thrift Shop. (Later in her life, she played a huge part in the creation of St. Mark's Episcopal Church and its wonderful Soup Kitchen.) Over the years, Marie could be found working behind the counter at The Rose Shop or the Bath Boutique. She was also a teacher's aide at Dora Erickson School and worked for many years as a Registrar and Elections Judge. She was involved with Linda's Girl Scouts, 4-H and Job's Daughters.
When David became involved in sports, Marie ran more than a few Little League batting practices and fed innumerable kids that he unexpectedly brought home for lunch. When David purchased an interest in Solitude Sports in the 1970s, Marie could be seen selling hiking boots, doing window displays or wrapping gifts. She was a major part of every outdoor event that the store sponsored.
The number of civic affairs that Marie was involved in over the years is staggering. They included fund drives for cancer, the Youth Ranch, Harbor House, the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, The Salvation Army, the Easter Seal Fund, polio clinics and the Circus for Crippled Children. She belonged to the Idaho Falls Federated Women's Club, the Westinghouse Wives, the PTA and the Red Cross Blood Bank. She held leadership positions in all of these organizations.
The culmination of so much community service was probably her selection as the Jay-C-Ettes 1963 Woman of the Year. In selecting Marie as their candidate for this contest, her sponsoring Idaho Falls Women's Club said, "She is a vivacious personality who does many tasks with a keen interest as well as with enthusiasm." These accomplishments were all prior to 1964. Not one to sit on her laurels, it would be impossible to list all of her achievements in the following three decades.
Marie's first grandchild, Samantha, arrived in 1980 and a second, Tara, in 1982. She and Bob enjoyed their trips to Park City, Utah, to spend time with their granddaughters. When Linda's family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1985, the visits continued into the Sunbelt. With the kids raised, Marie and Bob also enjoyed some well-deserved time to themselves -- fly-fishing Idaho's streams and camping in their VW bus. Marie also loved her Bridge Club, which doubled as the perfect venue to test the many delicious desserts that came out of her kitchen.
Although she celebrated her 75th birthday with friends and family at Harriman State Park, less than a year later, the ominous symptoms of Alzheimer's became all too clear. After two years of home care, Marie was moved to Lily and Syringa Home on 1st Street in Idaho Falls. She would remain there for five years, until her death on Mother's Day 2012. (When David and Lisa decided to get married in 2009, the amazing Hospice of Eastern Idaho made sure that Marie was in attendance!) She is survived by her husband, Robert Long; her daughter, Linda Redding (Dennis); her granddaughters, Samantha Marie Redding and Tara Lynne Amaral (Pete); her great-grandchildren, Caleb Michael and Madelyn Marie Amaral; and her son, David Long (Lisa).
Words alone could never convey the thanks and gratitude that this family feels for the nurturing women of Lily and Syringa Home for the loving care bestowed upon Marie during the past five years: Mary, Rosa, Juanita, Melissa, Maria, Eulalia, Alyssa, Lacey and others. We love you all! We extend this sentiment to the tireless and compassionate staff of the Hospice of Eastern Idaho. May you continue doing what you do so well -- the real work of the heart.
And lastly, a special thanks to Dr. Scott Taylor for his wise counsel and calm at this critical end-of-life time.
In the absence of a funeral or memorial service, the Long Family asks that any donations be directed to the Hospice of Eastern Idaho, 1810 Moran St., Idaho Falls, ID 83401.
This obituary can be viewed online at nalderfu neralhome.com.