Former State Senator Edwin "Ed" Long, 83, passed away Thursday, October 12, 2017, at his home in Stillwater, after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer in early September.
Long devoted his life to making a better world. Through business, politics, church involvement, community and national leadership, he gained respect for his sincerity and dedication in making things happen. He was always a catalyst for positive change, filled with high-energy, determination, and an indomitable spirit.
Long was born in Garber, OK, Sept. 4, 1934, to Lloyd and Blanche Long, both children of Oklahoma homesteaders. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M with a degree in Agriculture Education in 1956 and returned home to Garber to partner with his father and brother at Long's John Deere and the family wheat farming and Polled Hereford breeding operations.
At OSU, Long was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity, later served on the Int'l Farmhouse Board and was recipient of the international Master Builder of Men award. Long was named an OSU Distinguished Alumni and a Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus.
In the 1970s, Long served on the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and travelled around the world developing new markets for wheat. He was a 59-year member of Rotary Club International and a Paul Harris Fellow. Long served on the Board of Regents for Oklahoma A&M Colleges from 1979-88, including a term as chairman.
In 1988, Long was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate from District 19 and served two terms. In the Legislature, he served as chairman of the Education Committee and was instrumental in passing legislation to create the Enid campus of NWOSU. The Ed Long Endowed Chair in Education was established at NWOSU-Enid in 2012.
Long is known as a pioneer in the development of early childhood education in Oklahoma. He authored legislation to establish the OK Parents as Teachers program, and worked tirelessly to pass legislation that created Oklahoma's pre-K program, which became one of the nation's finest. He also helped establish the Rise School in Stillwater, which serves children with developmental disabilities. Long was recognized in 2017 by the World Autism and Savant Foundation.
Upon retirement, Long moved to Stillwater where he quickly became an active member of the community. He could be found on Thursdays at the community dinner at First United Methodist Church, where he encouraged the less fortunate of his community. He was also a regular volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, member of the Stillwater Frontier Rotary Club, a board member of Caring Communities, and on several local and statewide committees that promote early childhood education.
Always a United Methodist, Long went abroad on countless mission trips, but his heart was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he felt called to serve at age 10. When he visited Katanga Methodist University (KMU) in the DRC in 2005, he was struck by the vast amount of fertile land and malnourishment of the people. Long formed the 'Building Bridges of Peace' scholarship to fund agriculture exchange programs between OSU and KMU. His estate will also fund agriculture education programs that will increase the country's food production.
Long is survived by his wife of nearly 5 years, Gladeen Burris Allred and her sons Lance Allred - Baltimore and Brett Allred and grandson Riley - Stillwater, Ed's four children: Donna (Bruce) Lawrence - Edmond, Steve (D'Lorah) Long - Edmond, Dave Long - Bend, OR, and Stacia (Pete) Glavas - Rockledge, FL.
He is also survived by his siblings Hal (Jean) Long - Garber, Wanda (Duane) Cook - Bartlesville, and Elizabeth Palmer - Sonoma, CA, and fourteen nieces and nephews.
Bringing him joy were his grandchildren Tyler Schooley - Nairobi, Kenya, Tara Schooley - Dallas, Adam Long - Enid, Ally Glavas - OKC, Victoria and Hannah Glavas - Rockledge, FL, and Shelby Long - Murrells Inlet, SC.
Long was married to Mona Jean Pybas Long for 58 years, who was the mother of his children and long-time partner in community service. They divorced in 2012 and Mona resides in Oklahoma City.
A Celebration of Long's Life will be held in the Family Life Center at Stillwater First United Methodist Church at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 21. Feel free to wear orange & black in his honor. Services are under the direction of Strode Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be given to First United Methodist Church, 400 W. 7th, Stillwater, OK 74074, to support Katanga Methodist University in the DRC.
Condolences may be sent to the family and an online obituary viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.
Published on October 14, 2017