November 4, 1921 - April 10, 2013
Born in Eagle Rock to Vada and Guy De Long. In 1946, after 3 years in the Air Force, Jim De Long was on his way to Columbia University to study architecture when he took a detour that would forever change his life. He made a pilgrimage to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Wright was immediately impressed with Jim-his training at the Chouinard Art Institute, his passion for art and architecture, and his work as a surveyor in Alaska. Much to his surprise, Wright offered him an Apprenticeship at Taliesin. For the next year, Jim would study with the Master.
In 1947, Jim returned to California and began his illustrious architectural career designing two jewel boxes Usonian homes on Mt. Washington, The William Wolford and Robert Scholfield Houses. Sensitively sited on the sloping hillside, clad in horizontal redwood banding with stunning views to the ocean, these two modernist homes ushered in a bold new era of design. Jim was a messenger of style and substance, blending what he'd learned at Taliesin with his own unique understanding of the California climate, landscape, and lifestyle. The homes are now Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments. For the next five decades, Jim would continue to design residential structures throughout Southern California.
In 1963, Jim began working as the Architectural Editor for House Beautiful Magazine, splitting his time between New York and LA for the next 8 years. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Taliesin Fellows as well as acting as an Editorial Director on their quarterly magazine, Journal of the Taliesin Fellows. Jim's work has been published in House Beautiful, The LA Times, The LA Examiner, and Journal of the Taliesin Fellows. He was honored with a Modern Master Award by the LA Conservancy ModCom Committee in 2011 at the age of 90.
Jim will be remembered as a man with a generous spirit and a zest for life; he was a gifted raconteur, much to the delight of friends and family. He is survived by his two children, Anne and James, and his wife, Marilyn. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Glendale Humane Society & SPCA.
Published in Los Angeles Times on May 2, 2013.