Long, Willis Franklin "Bill"
MADISON – Willis Franklin "Bill" Long, born in 1934, died on July 10, 2021.
Bill was a bright light in all of his friends' lives. Quick-witted and sharp-humored, he was an excellent mentor and a terrific companion for a glass of wine (red preferred) or a meal. He taught for many years at the UW electrical engineering extension, where he traveled abroad teaching about power systems in Brazil, China, and beyond. He was highly regarded by colleagues and created many friendships that lasted his entire life. He taught at the UW well into his 70s and still had an office until the time of his death.
Bill was active in the community, serving in leadership positions at his church and several artistic and environmental groups. He was an avid outdoorsman - this passion started in Boy Scouts where he was an eagle scout and later a troop leader. In his later years he loved canoeing into the Boundary Waters and Quetico park systems with companions from his church. He could identify songbirds from around the world, and he kept his window birdfeeder full until the day he passed. His humor tended toward the absurd - Monty Python and Mel Brooks were often part of his conversation - and he was lively and active his entire life. During COVID, he was locked down in Capitol Lakes and quickly became a favorite there, as well as joining the staff for coffee (he made his own) early every morning. His life companion, Ginger (deceased), was an artist (as a foil for his engineering, analytical bent). They loved to travel together, enjoyed the arts of all kinds, and loved spending time with friends and especially family.
Ginger and Bill were blessed with three children, Drew (Mary Downs), Kristin, and Dave (Sharon). In addition, Bill took great joy in watching the growth and successes of his grandchildren, Alex, Jack, Emma, Caleb, Jake, and Lizzie, in academics, athletics, and the arts. He also adored his godson, Jamie Custer, and his"adopted" goddaughter, Genevieve Custer Weeks. The family wants to thank the staff at Capital Lakes for the wonderful care they provided to Bill for the last 16 months, and Agrace for the amazing supportive care the last several weeks.
A celebration of Bill's life will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7; there will be a short visitation at 11 a.m., followed by service at noon at the MADISON CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, 7118 Old Sauk Road, Madison, WI 53717. An informal reception will follow.
Bill loved Olbrich Botanical Gardens- many of his last walks were taken there on their beautiful grounds. He also loved (and was a steward) at the UW Arboretum. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Olbrich Botanical Gardens (http://www.olbrich.org/donate/) or the UW Arboretum (https://arboretum.wisc.edu/get-involved/donate/) in his honor.
Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.
Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3325 E. Washington Ave., Madison