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Mary C. Long


1915 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Mary C. Long Obituary
Long, Mary C
1915 - 2018
Mary Cecelia Clark Long, 102, of Columbus, Ohio, passed away on September 3, 2018 after a number of months in hospice care. Mary was born on November 24, 1915 in Greenville, Ohio to Christian Clark and Sophie Meyer Clark. She developed an early interest in music and was a soloist with her Greenville High School chorus and played piano and violin. She graduated from Capital University in 1937 with a major in music education. At Capital University she was crowned May Queen, had a lead role in the operetta Student Prince and was a soloist with the University's highly regarded Chapel Choir. She was a lyric soprano with a rich and beautiful tone. While singing she caught the eye of Robert Long, a Capital University seminarian, who around the time of her graduation asked her to marry him. She refused, choosing to strike out on her own as Dean of Women at Luther College in Saskatchewan, Canada, where she was only slightly older than the students for whom she was dean. After a year in Canada, she agreed to marry Bob Long who was then assistant pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio. They were married in 1938 in Toledo and immediately moved to Oceanside (Long Island), New York, where her new husband had accepted a call to Oceanside Lutheran Church. At Oceanside Lutheran she brought her high energy, strong work ethic and musical talents to the role of minister's wife. She directed the first of a number of junior choirs that she created and directed at the churches her husband served. She was a regular soloist in church services and with various choral groups. In 1943 she moved to Arlington, Virginia where her husband was called to Faith Lutheran Church, which served many government employee and military families recently relocated to Washington, D.C. during World War II. From 1950 to 1960 she lived in Columbus, Ohio where Bob Long was pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Bexley, Ohio. From 1960 to 1966 she lived in Western Springs Illinois when Bob was the director of American Missions for the National Lutheran Council in Chicago. In 1966 they moved to Los Angeles and lived for seven years in the then integrating South Central L.A. area to serve Messiah Lutheran Church, an inner-city church in racial transition. In Los Angeles, she organized a variety of projects for youth in the neighborhood of their church, including the creation of a large mosaic mural and summer sewing classes for teenagers (Operation Groovy). While in L.A. she actively supported the United Farm Workers Union, then under Cesar Chavez. In 1974 Mary and Bob moved to the Mission District of San Francisco where Bob successfully helped to merge two Lutheran churches.
In 1977, when Bob Long semi-retired, they returned to Columbus Ohio. At an age when many people are slowing down, Mary, upon returning to Columbus, plunged into a host of volunteer projects where she actively supported social services, social justice and the arts in the Central Ohio community. She became active with the Women's Auxiliary of the Columbus Symphony and gave countless tours of the Ohio Theatre. In 2004, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra honored Mary with an Honorary Educator of the Year Award for her work with the youth performance competitions. For many years, she was a leader in the orchestra's education committee and organized the annual young musicians' contests and the orchestra's Lollipop Concerts for preschoolers. For four decades she was a regular volunteer at Southside Lutheran Food Pantry in Columbus. One of her "bucket list" projects was to secure a working kitchen to feed the hungry and homeless in Columbus; by asking all her friends and family to donate to Faith Mission Community Kitchen, she was able to see this become a reality. She was an active member of Hope Lutheran Church in Columbus where she served in a host of volunteer roles. Mary was the founder and for almost four decades the leader of Hope Lutheran's quilting group, a small but dedicated band that turned out thousands of quilts for Lutheran World Relief to distribute to people in need in third-world countries. Earlier she organized similar efforts in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2013, when she was 97, the Central Ohio Council on Aging gave Mary their Hero of Aging Award for her very long and energetic life devoted to helping others, especially people in need. As a graduate of the class of 1937, she was a loyal and active member of the Capital University Alumni Association. During the last years of her life she was often the only alumnus from her class or that era present at alumni events. In 2001, after more than six decades of marriage, she lost her beloved husband Robert Long. In 2008, with her eyesight failing, she sold her townhouse in Columbus and took an apartment in the retirement community Kensington Place. Mary was an avid gardener, and at Kensington she headed the Garden Committee (sometimes a committee of one) and got up faithfully at the crack of dawn to plant, weed and deadhead the gardens she helped create. In 2011, she fell and broke her hip while volunteering at her church. Within six months, while still using a walker, she was back working in the garden and on other volunteer activities. Mary also loved to travel, which included Europe and Africa and many road trips across the United States. At 90 she traveled to Europe by herself and spent a week at the Taize Community in France with a friend. Her children and grandchildren are dispersed throughout the United States, and she enjoyed visiting them in California, Oregon, New York and Virginia. Mary is survived by three children, Sally (Larry Gordon) Kaplan of Arlington, Virginia, Diane (Jim) Liefeld of Portland, Oregon and David (Carolyn) Long of Mill Valley, California; four grandchildren, Kim Liefeld Moore, Michael Liefeld, Kara Long Tufts and Vicki Long Foley; and nine great grandchildren, Grace, Ted and Will Foley, Chloe and Nathan Liefeld, Alex and Emily Moore and Natalie and Tommy Tufts. She is predeceased by a sister Dorothy Clark Schilling. A celebration of Mary Long's life in a memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 29 at 11 AM at Hope Lutheran Church, 820 Lilley Ave., Columbus. In lieu of flowers, Mary requested donations be sent to Lutheran World Relief or the Columbus Symphony. Visit www.schoedinger.com to send online condolences to the family.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Sept. 16, 2018
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