Jake Long died April 9, 2018, the way we all want to go – peacefully, at home in his sleep after a good, long life. His warmth, wit and fierce intelligence will be missed by all who knew him.
The 8th of 11 children, Jake was born at home, so far in the country that his birth certificate lists only Laurens County, Georgia. When he was 7, the family escaped from poverty during the Great Depression, moving to the city of Macon, where Jake grew to manhood.
During World War II, he met the lovely Martha Ann Jackson in Shreveport while at basic training. After the war, Jake attended Centenary College there on the GI Bill, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. Jake had wanted to be a doctor or professor, but his severe hearing loss led him to become a chemist for Cities Service focusing on plastics research.
In the early 60s, Jake moved his growing family to Maplewood. He spent the rest of his life here, except several years when Cities Service transferred him to New Jersey. A lifelong baseball fan, he ran the Babe Ruth Baseball league while living there.
Jake took a licking and kept on ticking, surviving cancer and innumerable surgeries with grace and acceptance. He was self-reliant, fixing anything and everything himself, and passing that value on to his children. He was also affable; when he went to the store he might be gone hours if he ran across someone and struck up a conversation.
The last of his generation, Jake was preceded in death by all his siblings and in 2012 by “such a wonderful wife,” as he referred to Martha Ann, his bride of 67 years. He is succeeded by his children Beth, Chris, Mark, Jonathan and Rebecca, and by his 8 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and 2 great-greats, too.
Jake’s ashes will be spread in sacred places with those of his wife, mother, and beloved brothers and sister.Anyone who is moved to celebrate Jake’s life is encouraged to donate to the American Cancer Society.