Funeral services for Jimmy D. Long, Sr., widely recognized as one of the most prominent and respected political and state government figures in Louisiana history, are scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Natchitoches.
The Rev. Dr. Calvin Phelps, Sen. Gerald Long and the Rev. Tommy Rush will officiate, and there will be private family graveside services at American Cemetery in Natchitoches following the funeral. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday at the church.
Long, who died Tuesday in a two-vehicle accident near his home on University Parkway in Natchitoches, was born Oct. 6, 1931, in the Tannehill community in Winn Parish. He is the brother of current Louisiana Senate President Pro Tem Gerald Long of Natchitoches.
A member of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors since 2001, Long served eight consecutive terms in the House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000. Colleagues in the House and Senate adopted a resolution during his last term honoring Long as “Dean of the Legislature.”
He served as chairman of the House Education Committee for 16 years and also held membership on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and Joint Legislative Budget Committee. He was a long-time member of the 16-state Southern Regional Education Board and was recognized across the region as an authority on education-related legislation.
Long, who attended Northwestern State University, helped obtain millions of dollars over the years for construction and renovation projects at the school and for highways, bridges and other major improvements in his legislative district.
He introduced legislation to establish the prestigious Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern and was also the author of a bill to create the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, a residential high school in Natchitoches for gifted and talented students.
Recognized by the Shreveport Times as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Century” in Northwest Louisiana, Long was also presented the Lifetime Service Award in Education from the State Board of Regents for Higher Education.
Inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame, Long also received the Public Service Award from the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation and the Friends of Education Award from the Louisiana Association of Educators.
He was honored as a Louisiana Legend by the Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting along with such dignitaries as Terry Bradshaw, Jimmie Davis, John McKeithen, Eddie Robinson, Dave Treen, Archie Manning, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain.
Long received numerous other honors over the years, including induction into the Northwestern State Long Purple Line Hall of Distinction, Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and Natchitoches Jaycees Young Man of the Year.
A seven-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, Long was a business owner and cattleman in Natchitoches for more than a half-century. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church and held membership in numerous civic and professional organizations.
Long is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy Griffin Long, son Jimmy D. Long, Jr., and his wife Dr. Mary Ingram Long, granddaughters Elizabeth, Mary Grace and Anne Michelle Long, brothers Sen. Gerald Long and his wife Rose of Natchitoches, Bill Long of Shreveport and Carroll Long and his wife Susan of Natchitoches.
Pallbearers will be Sheriff Victor Jones, Dr. Jim Henderson, Jerry Pierce, Joe Salter, Mike Smith, Russell Long Mosely, Joe Pierson and Johnny Koch.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System and current and former legislators who served with former Rep. Long during his 32-year tenure in the House.
The family has suggested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a scholarship fund at Northwestern State University in honor of Jimmy and Dot Long.