Captain Robert Burney Long, JR., 88, died peacefully at his home on St. Simons Island on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
Born February 10, 1925 in Vicksburg, Mississippi to Robert B. and Lida Lee Long he grew up across the river in Delta, Louisiana on his family's former cotton plantation. He graduated as salutatorian of Tallulah High School class of 1941 in Madison Parrish, Louisiana . After attending Louisiana State University for one year, he received an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT., from which he graduated with the class of 1946. Because of war demands his entire class was assigned on- board duties in the spring of 1945 and the then Ensign Long served aboard the destroyer escort Merrill. He was assigned to post graduate training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from which he graduated with a bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1951. He became a registered professional Engineer in 1955 in both Civil and Structural Engineering and was a licensed professional Engineer in Georgia, Michigan, Louisiana, Washington D.C. and Mississippi. Capt. Long commanded the 327' Coast Guard Cutter Campbell from 1967-1968 in Vietnam and participated in Operation Market Time during the Tet offensive for which he earned a Bronze Star with a Combat V. Upon his return to New York City, the Campbell's home port, he was awarded the "Key to the City" by then Mayor, John V. Lindsay for the Campbell's outstanding service in Vietnam. After retiring from the Coast Guard in 1969, he took the position of Director of Physical Plant at Central Michigan University where, in 1973, he was awarded one of the first federal grants for a remote energy conservation program that was used as a prototype for other universities to save millions of dollars in energy costs. While at Central, he also earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration and was the Chairman of the Isabella County Planning Commission.
Captain and Mrs. Long moved back south to St. Simons Island in 1978 where he took the position of Director of Engineering with the Sea Island Company, a position he held until his retirement. At the time, the Cloister 's Mobile (5 star) and AAA (5-diamond) ratings were secured despite an aging facilities infrastructure and challenging competition in the resort industry.
He remained active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary serving as Commander for a number of years. He also served as one of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Keepers until 2012 maintaining and cleaning the "Fresnel" lens of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. He also taught Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety classes to many Golden Isles residents and was a boat examiner providing complimentary inspections of private and commercial fishing craft for safety and pollution control devices. Unknown to many, he was amateur mycologist, expert in identifying and cataloging mushrooms and fungi. Additionally, he was a certified scuba diver and avid golfer.
He was preceded in death by his wife of fifty years, Patricia McKee Long in 1997, and a sister, Anna V. Case of Falls Church, VA. He is survived by four children and their spouses: Robert B. III and his wife, Susan, of Anderson, SC; Victoria Viall and her husband, Charles, of West Haven CT; Suzanne Meloeny and her husband , John, of Royal Oak, MI; and local Landscape Architect, Candace Long Brewer and her husband, Donald, of Nassau County, FL; four grandchildren , Christine Orecchio, Kayla Viall, Sarah Long and Kent Long, as well as three great grandchildren.
The family will receive friends at a Celebration of Life Reception in Captain Long's honor from 5-7pm on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home in Brunswick, GA. A private burial will take place at a later date in Vicksburg, MS.
Major Mike Orecchio, US Army MEDCOM will perform TAPS and "Father Strong to Save" . Any Contributions in Capt. Long's honor are suggested for the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, Maritime Center, c/o Sherri Jones, Executive Director, P.O. Box 21136, St. Simons Island Georgia, 31522 . www.edomillerandsons.com