Terrence L. "Terry" Long, 45, entered into the Lord's rest on Tuesday, June 7, 2005. He was born July 21, 1959, in Columbia, S.C., to Levane Pickney and the late Robert Luther Long and always was known as "quick but shy" and an "extremely caring and giving" person. Terry was baptized at an early age in Ridgewood Baptist Church, Columbia, and loved, sough and acknowledged Jesus as Lord throughout his life. He graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1977 and began working at age 14 as a brick mason under the tutelage of a local bricklayer, "Mr. McDonald." Terry was known at a very young age as a "very hard worker." Being a quick study, he learned the trade of bricklaying at this young age. Being the caring person that he was, he also began immediately contributing to the care of his entire family, helping his mother with his meager wages. These highly valuable, qualitative traits, "hardworking, caring and giving," would be character traits that would shape and define each and every one of his future personal and professional endeavors. Immediately after high school, Terry enlisted in the armed forces and served for two years in the Air Force, Special Forces Unit of the 82nd Airborne Division and not only continued to care for his family from Fort Bragg but began to realize his great giftedness in the sports arena. Terry began his football career while in the military and quckly was recognized as a "star" by his coaches. As Terry put it, "I hated the military but loved playing football." He was recruited from the military to football scouts and began attending Columbia Junior College, where he earned 30 credits toward a degree in business administration. During this time, Terry's fame, another distinguishing characteristic that followed him throughout his life, began to soar. He quickly was recognized by other college football scouts and enticed to transfer schools under a full, four-year football scholarship to East Carolina University, where he was a starting offensive tackle for four years and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. The "star" recognized by others began to shine like a beam from heaven lighting the path Terry would take to become a professional player in the National Football league. A few clips from his early days read: "ECU's Long sets weightlifing mark, strongest college football player. Long does 4.8 in 40-yard dash" (April 1, 1983); "Long causes strong look. Terry Long named third strongest power lifter in the world. Bench pressed 501 lbs. At 290 pounds, all solid muscle;""ECU guard carries 300 lbs. and wins Southern individual honors. Ran the 40 in 4.8" (May 29, 1983); "Long breaks fourth-place record in North Carolina, considered strongest football player in America" (May 27, 1983); "ECU offensive lineman Terry Long, all-American as he enters his senior year, wins Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American Award and Janet Overton Memorial Award for most outstanding senior, awarded 1983;""ECU Rebuilding is Slow and Steady. Old playbooks thrown out for more flexible sytem. Terry Long mentioned as possible first-round draft pick." In 1983, after graduating, Terry was drafted into the National Football League as a starting right guard with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Terry played for eight consecutive years with the Steelers alongside such greats as Tunch Ilkin, Edmund Nelson, Dwayne Woodruff, Bubby Brister, Mike Webster, Delton Hall, Dermontti Dawson and Gregg Lloyd, with whom he developed strong and lasting personal friendships. In 1985, Terry distinguished himself by receiving the Kodak All-American Award along with, to mention only a few who later became stars in the own right, Reggie White, Bo Jackson, Randall Cunningham, Bruce Smith and Steve Young. Terry also developed strong ties with Dan Rooney and his family, as well as with Chuck Noll, whom he respected as a coach and loved like a father. There were many, many other coaches, trainers and fellow players too numerous to list with whom Terry developed strong personal friendships within the Steelers' organization and throughout the National Football League. Suffice it to say, he had a way about him when it came to friendships. Terry had another remarkable characteristic -- "likeableness." He caused people to naturally gravitate towards him and vice versa, and his magnetism was so powerful that once you met him, a lasting bond would form for life. Terry retired from professional football in 1991, entered the business arena as an entrepreneur and, with the same hard-working determination to succeed, started TL's Sports Nuts Inc., which he served as sole owner for three successful years. During this time, it was not uncommon to see Terry out and about, distributing and filling his own customer orders throughout southwestern Pennsylvania at 4 a.m. In 1998, Terry formed his second private corporation, TL's Inc., an FDA-approved/certified produce processing and manufacturing business that served the Giant Eagle stores. Terry not only designed a new manufacturing plant singlehandedly but became the first ready-made salad producer in the area for Giant Eagle. During these years, Terry's caring and giving spirit not only provided jobs for the Pittsburgh area but a second chance for many of the underprivileged. It was more than a job for Terry -- it was a responsibility and an opportunity to care for others less fortunate, and he always made room for those in need. In 2001, Terry diversified his business and expanded his food processing/manufacturing lines to include processed and packaged poultry and potatoes. This expansion resulted in the formation of Value Added Foods Inc., where Terry served as sole owner at a new location and a much bigger manufacturing plant. Admist all these accomplishments, Terry always found time and ways to give, not only during his playing years but also and most notably during his business years. He gave incessantly of his time, talent and treasures in such areas as serving as a board member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Inc., an assistant in the youth outreach ministry and as an usher at Triumph Baptist Church and an usher at Christ Church at Grove Farms. He faithfully volunteered in Triumph Baptist Church's Food Share Ministry and formed Athletes Supporting Kids, an organization that identified and addressed the needs of inner-city youth. He also loved to sing and was a member of Triumph's men's and senior choir. In addition, he found time to mentor young men, offer financial support to those in need and give of himself. Terry had a wonderful way about him and a very special way with others. As a young child, Terry found it impossible to walk past hurt or troubled animals lying along the side of the road and often would pick them up and care for them. As an adult, he likewise found it impossible to walk past anyone in need. Terry lived a tremendously successful and full life well worthy of our honor, respect and admiration. Also surviving are his wife, Lynne Medley-Long; mother-in-law, Mildred Anderson; father-in-law, Norman Medley Jr.; brothers, Valentina Pickney and Harry and Reginald Long; sisters, Robbie Ellison, Libby Lightly and Levane Wilson; sisters-in-law, Terri Pickney, Trina Long, Yvonne Betts, Mildred Roberts and Jeannette Dawson; brothers-in-law, Thad Ellison, James Wilson and Garry Betts Sr.; 19 nieces and nephews, and two great-nephews. Friends will be received from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday in Triumph Baptist Church, Sewickley, where services will be at 11 a.m. Monday. Interment Tuesday in Swansea, S.C. Arrangements by the CALVIN L. SHEFFIELD FUNERAL HOME, North Side.
Published in Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Jun. 11, 2005.