Lt. Col. Jesse Paul Long U.S. Air Force (Ret.) LEXINGTON - Yesterday, Jesse Paul Long passed from this world. He was a man of great generosity, love, faith and dedication. He placed his loyalty to God, family and country. Born in 1920, he became an orphan at the start of the Great Depression. On this subject, he was never bitter but always expressed his appreciation and love to his cousins and kin who raised him. Thanks to the generosity of the Woodman of the World, who in a time of distress honored his father's lapsed life insurance, Jesse was able to go to college. There he learned to fly and when the War started he volunteered for the Army Air Corps. As a B-25 bomber pilot he would on to fly over 62 missions. He never lost a crewman. It should be mentioned he had the fortune to be sent on no city bombing raid. His targets were military in nature. He contributed to the war in Italy, smashing gun emplacements North of Anzio following the invasion and successfully destroying dozens of Nazi targets. From Italy he was sent to India to fight the Japanese. Unlike the Germans, the Japanese often killed and tortured downed flyers. Like many of his generation, he refused to leave his work half done. On the 62nd mission of his service, the last he had to fly, he went against the most heavily fortified city in Burma, Mandalay Harbor. He was the lead plane in the formation. On the first run flak buffeted the planes as the 155mm artillery attempted to range them. At the end of the run, his bombardier reported he did not have the target. The military docks below needed to be hit to deprive the Japanese of ammunition on the frontline. With the sky around him with black smoke and flak, he ordered the doors up a second run on target. This time the docks were hit and exploded in fire. Dedication. As a husband, father and grandfather he excelled. He loved his family and showed it through patience, forgiveness and kindness. He loved his community and his Church, he consistently gave to First Baptist Church of Columbia through his time in the city. He spent two decades as a volunteer with Cooperative Ministry, helping those less fortunate. He loved to tease, laugh and teach. He taught his son and his grandson how to work on cars, pumps, engines and all manner of machines. He sent his children to college. In his last years he never missed a chance to express his love for his family. His life was full and complete and we who loved him will miss him dearly. Jesse is survived by his loving wife, Esther Howe Long; daughter, Linda Williams of Columbia; son, Stephen Jesse Long of Marietta, Georgia; granddaughters, Paige Emery of Stirling City, California, Dana Nuriyev of Columbia, Amy Lewis of Marietta, Georgia, Rebekah Long of Atlanta, Laura Simmons of Chapin; grandsons, Robert Pirkle of San Antonio, Texas, Chris Pirkle of Oklahoma, Stephen Jesse Long Jr. of Charleston and Blake Williams of Columbia. Col. Long was blessed with twenty great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by cousins, Edward Lassiter, Johnny Lassiter and William Lassiter, all of North Carolina. He was predeceased by his first wife, Laurie Long and daughter, Bonnie Pirkle. His major military decorations include: Distinguished Flying Cross-10th AF, Bronze Star Medal-7th AF, Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorius Service Medal HQ TAC, and Air Force Commendation Medal-1st AF. In lieu of flowers the family suggest memorials to First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton Street, Columbia SC 29220 or The Cooperative Ministry, 3821 West Beltline Blvd., Columbia SC 29204. Services will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in Boyce Chapel, First Baptist Church with interment in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 5 until 6:00 p.m. Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.
Dunbar Funeral Home - Devine
3926 DEVINE ST
Columbia, SC 29205
Published in The State on Apr. 6, 2013